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M&S announces second phase of sustainable cotton project

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced the second phase of its Better Cotton project designed to help improve the lives of cotton farmers and their families.

The project, which is centered around Warangal in Andhra Pradesh, India, was first launched in 2009 as part of the M&S Plan A eco and ethical initiative and looked at how cotton could be grown in a better way, with significant reductions in water and pesticide use as well as increased profitability for over 6,000 farmers in the region.

As part of the second phase of the project, M&S will continue to fund the programme for the next three and a half years to extend the project to 20,000 farmers with cotton from the Warangal project due to be used in a wide range of M&S products across menswear, ladieswear, kidswear and homewear ranges later this year.

M&S cotton specialist Mark Sumner said: “We said last year that we would deliver a Plan A quality to every M&S product by 2020. We’re now on that journey and are already delivering products that are made with more sustainable cotton. Customers can shop at M&S with every confidence that we are taking a responsible approach to how cotton is sourced. 

“Phase two of Warangal is a significant investment for M&S and it brings with it a significant reduction in the impact cotton grown in Warangal has on the environment. It also helps to improve the health and safety of the farmers as well as making more money for them by improving how they manage their crop by reducing the costs of inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers.”

Last year, the project became one of the first programmes in the world to be approved for growing Better Cotton verified by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).

M&S is a founder member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a non-profit organisation designed to promote cotton that is grown in a more sustainable way, reducing the impact on the environment and earning more money for cotton farmers.   

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