Fashion retailer Primark has promised to train another 125,000 small cotton growers in more sustainable practices by the end of 2023 in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Already this initiative has trained about 150,000 farmers, of whom about 80% are women.
This latest move represents a major commitment of the company as it works to increase program membership to approximately 275,000 smallholders.
Meanwhile, Primark’s partnership with technology provider Oritain is supposed to access more sustainable cotton fibre, which can be traced from the shop floor back by 60% to an individual farmer’s village.
According to Primark, “Comparison between 2013 and 2019, the retailer added that farmers signed up to its Sustainable Cotton Programme generally use 40% less chemical pesticides and fertilizers on average, as well as 10% less water by acre, also tend to experience yield increases of 14% and a 200% boost to their profits.”
According to the Dublin-based business, it further expects that all member farmers will adopt “more regenerative” cotton-growing methods by 2030.
Regarding this, Director of the company’s Primark Cares arm, Lynne Walker said, “Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme plays an integral role in our long-term vision to make more sustainable clothes affordable for everyone. Over half of our clothing range is made with cotton, so by further increasing the number of farmers, we will be able to meet our commitment that all the cotton in our clothing will be organic, recycled or grown through the programme by 2027.”
Currently, almost 40% of Primark clothing is made from recycled fibres or more sustainably sourced materials.
In this project along with Primark, the other partners are Hugo Boss, Fairtrade and Takko, as well as Germany’s Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).