Primark launches jeans made with 100% sustainably sourced cotton

Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme currently covers 28

Cotton to make the jeans is being sourced under Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme, which trains farmers in agriculture techniques which minimise water and pesticide use, preserve soil quality and promote biodiversity. After joining the programme, farms record an average 15% reduction in water use and a 20% reduction in chemical pesticide use.

Farmers covered by the scheme are also provided with education and support to help minimise wastage, improve fibre quality and safeguard their land from climate-related risks. They are paid a premium for producing raw materials in line with Primark’s best-practice advice, with rural female farmers in India increasing average profits by an average of 200% under the scheme.

Crucially, the scheme enables Primark to trace cotton as it moves throughout the firm’s global supply chains, allowing the company to identify breaches of its environmental and social standards.

Since its 2013 launch, the programme has been expanded several times and is now supporting more than 28,000 farmers – growth that has enabled the launch of the new range of women’s jeans, which will be sold in Primark’s UK and mainland Europe stores from this week. In total, Primark is aiming to cover at least 30,000 farmers with the scheme by the start of 2022.

“These jeans are an important step as we aim to introduce sustainable cotton across our entire product range,” Primark’s ethical trade and environmental sustainability director Katharine Stewart said.

“For us, the aims of the programme are three-fold: to help reduce the impact of cotton production on the environment, to equip farmers with the skills they need to improve their livelihoods and to offer our customers sustainable products at a great price.”

The jeans will retail across all of Primark’s European and UK markets for £13/€17, with the retailer aiming to launch additional garment lines and a homeware range made with 100% sustainably sourced cotton before the end of 2019.

Cottoning on

Developed in partnership with sustainable agriculture organisation CottonConnect and local NGOs across India, Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme first launched in 2013, covering 6,000 supply chain workers in Northern India.

Since then, the scheme has been expanded to cover other Indian regions and, late last year, to include Pakistan – the world’s fourth-largest cotton grower.

The first Primark product to be made from 100% sustainably certified cotton was a line of women’s pyjamas, launched in 2014. To date, the retailer has sold more than 11.2 million pairs of pyjamas made using certified cotton.

As for other sustainable materials, the retailer has switched to 100% recycled and recyclable paper and card for its “Primark cares” clothing tags across the UK and Europe. It is additionally investing in the development of further biodegradable bottle ranges and sportswear ranges made from recycled plastic bottles, following the successful launch of these products last year.

Sarah George

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