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Primark expands Sustainable Cotton Programme

Jeremy Lim
06 May 2022

Primark has announced it will expand its Sustainable Cotton Programme and will train an additional 125,000 smallholder cotton farmers in more sustainable farming methods by the end of 2023.

The methods, which include using fewer chemical pesticides and fertilisers and less water, will lower input costs and improve profits for farmers. Having already trained nearly 150,000 farmers across India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the expansion will increase the number of farmers in the programme by over 80%.

Primark said the expansion is also expected to increase the amount of sustainable cotton available for its products by 60%, with more than a quarter (27%) of its cotton clothing fully traceable from a farmers’ village to shop-floor.

Launched in 2013 in collaboration with agronomic experts, Cotton Connect, and the grassroots organisation, the Self-Employed Women’s Association, the programme supports Primark's commitment to have 100% of the cotton in its clothes be sourced from the Sustainable Cotton Programme, organic or recycled by 2027. Primark also committed to make all of its products from recycled fibres or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

Lynne Walker, Director at Primark Cares, said: "We developed our Sustainable Cotton programme with our partners almost a decade ago to reduce the impact on the environment, support farmer livelihoods and improve the way we source our cotton. We’re proud of how far it’s come, evolving into the largest of its kind of any single fashion retailer.

"It has taken time to build a programme of this scale, and the positive impact it has had on the livelihoods of thousands of farmers means we can continue its expansion - benefitting more farmers and supporting our ambition to offer our customers more sustainable options at Primark."

Alison Ward, CEO at CottonConnect, added: "We are pleased to further our long-standing partnership with Primark to collaborate on the largest programme of its kind by any single retailer in the fashion industry. Any programme at such scale is complex, but working in close collaboration with Primark and the local partners means we are confident we can support Primark’s ambitions and support the livelihoods of thousands of farmers. We look forward to the next stage of this programme and seeing the positive impact it will have for many more farming communities.”

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