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Brief Published: 4 Sep 2019

Primark Ramps Up Sustainable Cotton Initiative


Fast-fashion retailer Primark has announced a fivefold increase in its Sustainable Cotton Programme, as it targets 100% sustainable cotton usage across all product categories.

The Irish retailer’s eco initiative trains its cotton farmers in environmentally friendly farming methods. Over 160,000 of Primark’s independent farmers will be trained across three of its sourcing countries – India, Pakistan and China – by the end of 2022.

The project aims to provide farmers with the skills and resources to minimise harmful effects. It teaches them appropriate farming techniques for their land, including seed selection, pest management, fibre quality and grading, and storage of the harvested cotton. 

The initiative is part of the retailer’s long-term sustainability plan, which aims to provide customers with more sustainably sourced, eco-friendly products at the same affordable prices. “By extending the programme into another major cotton-sourcing country [China], we will be able to offer our customers even more products made using sustainable cotton,’’ said Primark’s ethical trade and environment sustainability director, Katharine Stewart. ‘‘[That’s] without any price premium – instead, at the Primark prices our customers know and love.”

The retailer’s expansion into China has been facilitated by partnerships with agricultural experts CottonConnect and Helping Cotton Farmers’ Cooperative. They’ve added over 80,000 independent cotton farmers in China to the programme, helping to increase their income and improve working conditions.

For more on the global expansion of sustainable initiatives, see India: Fashion – Five Need To Knows.