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Primark’s half of clothing contains sustainably sourced materials

Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, has revealed in its first sustainability report that almost half (45%) of its clothing now contains recycled or more sustainably sourced materials up from 39 percent in April and 25 percent in September 2021, towards a target of 100 percent by 2030.

Primark-Sustainability-Ethics Progress Report
Figure 1: Primark’s Sustainability Report highlighted that 40% of all its cotton clothing units sold contain cotton that is recycled, organic or sourced from its Primark Sustainable Cotton Program. Courtesy: Primark

Primark’s inaugural Sustainability and Ethics Progress Report sets out its progress across the company’s Primark Care commitments and outlines its wider social impact and environmental sustainability work across its products, stores and supply chain. Increased focus and investment in new teams and skills across the business has allowed Primark to accelerate progress against its commitments.

In the face of pressure from rising living costs Primark remains committed to delivering its vision of making sustainable fashion more affordable for all while maintaining its same great value proposition, a move applauded by industry watchers.

Primark’s Sustainability Report highlighted that 40% of all its cotton clothing units sold contain cotton that is recycled, organic or sourced from its Primark Sustainable Cotton Program (PSCP), up from 27% at launch.

Figure 2: Primark’s inaugural Sustainability and Ethics Progress Report highlights.

Lynne Walker, director of Primark Cares, said, “The past 12 months have laid the right foundations for our sustainability strategy, Primark Care. Much of our focus has been on setting ourselves up in the right way to deliver on the commitments we’ve made, which is why the pilots and processes have been as important as the progress we’ve made in this first year.”

Lynne said, “Primark has always been about affordability and great value. What we can do is drive consumer change and make sure that, because of the lifestyle crisis, you’re not actually pricing people out. Things are tough, but there is a growing awareness and interest in the ecological landscape and sustainability.”

“Primark has over 400 stores and our social media channels reach around 24 million people and we can educate them about the importance of sustainability,” she added.

According to Lynne, Primark has three sustainable strategy pillars, these are, giving clothes a longer life; Protecting life on the planet and Improving people’s lives.

Primark’s Sustainability Report also highlights some of its initiatives towards sustainability under these three sustainable strategy pillars such as;

  • Launched new circular design training program for 24 product team members and six suppliers, to be extended over next 12 months;
  • 43 repair workshops held across the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI), encouraging customers and colleagues to keep and wear their clothes for longer;
  • 252,800 farmers trained in the Primark Sustainable Cotton Program (PSCP) and almost 3,000 farmers from the PSCP participated in a pilot for the adoption of more regenerative cotton farming in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh;
  • Established a Packaging Centre of Excellence to explore new ways to eliminate single-use plastic and non-clothing waste by 2027;
  • Commissioned and funded research with the Anker Research Institute to provide new or updated Global Living Wage Coalition estimates for four of Primark’s sourcing markets – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Turkey and Vietnam.

“A year ago, we made a new commitment to change the way we make and source our cloths by promising to think differently about how we do business. To provide focus, we deliberately set targets to reach 2030. We’ve spent the last year investing in and growing our expert teams, collaborating in new ways within our own business and partnering with suppliers and partners to support our transformation. We’re more committed than ever to make more sustainable fashion affordable for all,” said Lynne.

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