Primark sustainable cotton products hit store shelves

Clothing giant Primark has launched its first sustainable cotton products using cotton purchased directly from female farmers in India. So far, more than 6,000 farmers have received training through the company’s sustainable cotton programme.

Primark teamed up with Cotton Connect and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in 2013 to train female farmers in India in sustainable farming methods. India is one of Primark’s key sourcing countries.

After training more than 6,000 farmers, Primark is now able to introduce its first sustainable cotton products using cotton purchased directly from the female farmers. The range of sixteen different women’s pyjamas will go on sale across Primark’s stores.

Priced at just 6 pounds per set – the same price as regular cotton pyjamas – the new products represents Primark’s commitment to using sustainably sourced cotton across its supply chain. All pyjamas are clearly labelled to help shoppers easily identify which clothes are made with sustainable cotton,.

“Our long-term ambition is to ensure that all the cotton we use is sustainably sourced,” Katharine Stewart, Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director at Primark, said in a statement.

“There has never been a single definition of sustainable cotton. For us, sustainable cotton is about reducing the environmental impact of cotton production, improving the livelihoods of the farmers, and doing so in a way that means we continue to deliver great value to our customers.”

Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme trains female farmers in sustainable farming methods, allowing them to minimise the impact on their local environment and improve their livelihoods through increased income. Farmers are trained in the most appropriate farming techniques for their land, from seed selection, sowing, soil, water, pesticide and pest management, to picking, fibre quality, grading and storage of the harvested cotton.

Results from the first three years of the programme shows that investment in female cotton farmers in India can deliver significant results for the women, their families, and the local communities involved. Participating farmers recorded improved cotton yield, through the reduction in water and chemical usage, and on average, an increase in profits by more than 200 per cent.

Last year it was announced that an additional 10,000 women will be trained in sustainable farming methods over a six year period.


Image credit: César via flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

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