• Reuters

Primark expands sustainable cotton program

Reuters file photo
A woman walks past a window display showing new environmentally themed posters at a Primark store in Liverpool in September 2021.

LONDON (Reuters) — Primark, one of Europe’s biggest fast fashion chains, has pledged to train an additional 125,000 smallholder cotton farmers in more sustainable farming methods in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh by the end of 2023.

The group’s sustainable cotton program trains farmers on using fewer chemical pesticides and fertilizers and less water, thereby preserving biodiversity and helping to mitigate against climate change. It also lowers input costs and improves yields and profits for the farmers, the group said.

Primark, owned by London-listed Associated British Foods, said May 6 the commitment would take the total number of farmers in the program to over 275,000 by the end of next year.

Last September, Primark vowed to cut its environmental impact by using more recyclable materials, making clothing more durable, and improving wages for workers.

It pledged that 100% of the cotton in its clothes would be sourced from its sustainable cotton program, organic or recycled by 2027. It also committed to make all its products from recycled fibers or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Currently, almost 40% of Primark clothing is made from recycled fibers or more sustainably sourced materials.