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Kontoor, Panda partner for traceability of cottonised hemp

May '21
Pic: Panda Biotech
Pic: Panda Biotech
Kontoor Brands, a global lifestyle apparel company with a portfolio led by two of the world’s most iconic consumer brands Lee and Wrangler, is collaborating with Dallas-based Panda Biotech, an emerging leader in the industrial hemp fibre industry, to bring traceability and scale to the textile-grade cottonised hemp grown and processed in the United States.

Through the Panda Biotech collaboration, which first kicked off in 2019 after the passing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Kontoor Brands plans to have US grown and processed hemp in market in its denim apparel by 2023.

“Sustainable hemp creates the perfect complement fibre to cotton. We are excited by the opportunity to advance the denim industry’s use of environmentally friendly hemp to craft high-quality, eco-conscious apparel,” said Dhruv Agarwal, senior director of Global Material Innovation and Product Development, Kontoor Brands. “Our work with Panda Biotech has been focused on making truly sustainable hemp, unlocking an additional commercialised fibre crop for American farmers, and providing consumers with access to more sustainable apparel.”

As Kontoor and Panda Biotech work toward commercialisation of domestically grown and processed hemp, the companies are sharply focused on traceability from farm to product. Industrial hemp is a regenerative crop due to its ability to grow with little water, minimal-to-no pesticides and herbicides, production of a high per acre fibre yield, and absorption of more carbon dioxide per acre than any forest or commercial crop.

“As a leading global denim manufacturer, with vast experience in bringing innovative fibres and processes to market, Kontoor Brands has been an invaluable ally as we build the largest industrial hemp processing facility in the United States for high-quality, textile-grade fibre and hurd for numerous sustainable manufacturing applications,” said Dixie Carter, president of Panda Biotech. “We have been working with Kontoor since our company was founded, and we are aligned in our desire for our domestically grown fibre to be the most traceable hemp in the world and processed using renewable practices. We are excited to be working with Kontoor and its iconic global brands to expand access to domestically grown and processed hemp.”

Earlier this year, Kontoor announced the expansion of its Indigood programme, an initiative that targets water savings during the fabric construction phase of the apparel supply chain. Debuted in 2019 with the introduction of foam-dyed denim, the Indigood programme has expanded to include water savings technology in apparel fabric production that uses at least 90 per cent less water than conventional fabric production.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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June 2021

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