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Primark extends sustainable cotton sourcing programme

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Fast-fashion giant Primark has announced that it has expanded its Sustainable Cotton Programme into Pakistan, one of the key sourcing countries for cotton, one year on from the initiative’s launch of cotton products using sustainable cotton from India.

The Sustainable Cotton Programme was developed to track sustainable cotton from farmers to store, while also extending the reach of independent cotton farmers. Initially, it was launched with independent farmers in Gujarat, Northern India, which has so far seen more than 6,000 independent cotton farmers enrolled in the programme and an average profit increase of almost 200 percent for those who have completed their training.

By extending the programme to Pakistan it is expected to help farmers there also increase profit and yield, while giving the farmers 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.

The initiative also means that by starting at the very beginning of the supply chain, Primark can 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 in a press release: “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 percent sustainable cotton in our supply chain.”

Primark extends Sustainable Cotton Programme to Pakistan

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.

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, added: “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.”

Primark has more than 355 stores in 11 countries - Republic of Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, the US and Italy, and has over 75,000 employees.

Image: courtesy of Primark