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Primark to train 160,000 cotton farmers in eco methods

Published
today Aug 28, 2019
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Fast fashion retailers have frequently been criticised for their sustainability credentials, but Primark is seeking to change that and will train as many as 160,000 cotton farmers in India, Pakistan and China in eco-friendly farming methods by 2022.


Primark/Centre:MK


The Guardian reported that the new initiative is part of the sustainable cotton programme that the company has already run for the past six years and that has an ultimate aim of 100% of the cotton used in the products Primark sells being sustainable.

And training farmers is key to this with the new announcement meaning a five-fold increase in the number of farmers enrolled in the programme. The company has been working with Cotton Connect and the Self Employed Women’s Association trade union on the project.

As far as its long-term 100% eco aim is concerned, the retailer isn't quite there yet with the sustainable cotton currently being found in a range of denim pieces, in it's women's pyjamas, plus towels and bedding. Next on the list will be menswear and T-shirts.

And with many more farmers operating sustainably, it should be able to accelerate its use of eco cotton.

So what exactly will the farmers be taught? Methods will include efficient irrigation and use of organic fertilisers and pesticides. However, Primark has also said that while it wants to minimise the use of chemicals on the crops, it wants to ensure farmers are able to efficiently deal with pests.

The company’s ethical trade and environment sustainability director, Katharine Stewart, also told the Guardian that the retailer is “looking at what we can do to influence customers to wear clothes for longer and also what they can do with them when they no longer want them”. 

The firm has been testing recycling units at its giant Birmingham flagship with consumers able to recycle items bought from other retailers as well as from Primark.

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