Primark extends sustainable cotton sourcing programme to Pakistan

Primark
Cotton farming

Fast fashion giant Primark has extended its Sustainable Cotton Programme into Pakistan, one year on from the initiative’s launch in Northern India.

The programme was initially launched with the retailer’s first range of cotton products using sustainable cotton grown by independent farmers in Gujarat, and has now extended it into Pakistan, another major cotton sourcing country.

Primark has worked with established agricultural experts, CottonConnect, alongside local NGO REEDS (the Rural Education and Economic Development Society), to introduce the programme into Pakistan. An additional 20,000 farmers have been enrolled in the programme in Pakistan, meaning more than 30,000 farmers across both sourcing regions will be trained in sustainable farming methods by 2022.

The Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme was designed to train smallholder farmers in sustainable farming methods. Farmers are trained by CottonConnect in the most appropriate farming techniques for their land, from seed selection, sowing, soil, water, pesticide and pest management, to picking, fibre quality, grading and storage of the harvested cotton.

By starting at the very beginning of the supply chain, the partnership allows Primark to trace the cotton through every stage of the supply chain, from farming to the supplier’s factory floor to Primark shelves in store.

Katharine Stewart, Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director at Primark, said: “We’re very proud of the Sustainable Cotton Programme, and we’re delighted to be able to use our experience in India to help train and support the farming community in Pakistan. We’ve deliberately targeted regions that are already used by our suppliers, so we can introduce even more cotton grown using sustainable farming methods into our supply chain as soon as possible. Our expansion into Pakistan is the logical next step for us, as we continue to move towards 100% sustainable cotton in our supply chain.”

Since the launch of the initiative last year 4.4 million pairs of Primark cotton pyjamas made with sustainably sourced cotton have been sold and today one in three pairs of women’s pyjamas are bought from Primark. Last August, Primark announced plans to introduce sustainably sourced cotton into women’s pyjamas, which is one of its most popular product lines, under the “Primark Cares” initiative, and has recently launched 20 new styles.

Paula Dumont Lopez, Trading Director at Primark, said: “At Primark, we’re committed to a sustainable future for everyone and everything involved in our business, so designing these Primark Cares pyjamas made with cotton grown using sustainable farming methods was a really exciting moment for us. As we expand the programme, we’re looking forward to using more and more sustainable cotton across our clothing and homeware ranges.”