Primark has announced that it will train 160,000 cotton farmers in China, India and Pakistan and China in environmentally-friendly production methods.
The scheme, to be completed by 2022, is part of Primark’s sustainable cotton programme, which targets the use of 100% sustainable cotton in all its product categories.
Sustainable cotton is currently being used in some of its denim, women’s pyjamas, towels and bedding. It will also be rolled out to menswear and T-shirts. Primark launched its first range of jeans made with 100% sustainable cotton in March.
The programme will operate in partnership with Cotton Connect and the Self Employed Women’s Association trade union.
Each farmer that goes through the three-year programme is trained on 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.
Katharine Stewart, ethical trade and environmental sustainability director at Primark, said: “As a leading international retailer, we know that many people rely on us for great quality cotton products at affordable prices. Cotton is one of our most important fibres and, like other retailers, we rely on farmers working in rural communities around the world. Improving the long-term sustainability of how that cotton is grown has therefore been a key priority for some time. What’s particularly exciting for us is that we can be confident our cotton has been grown in an environmentally-friendly way because we’ve been able to track it all the way from farm to store.
“By extending the programme into another major cotton-sourcing country, we’ll be able to offer our customers even more products made using sustainable cotton – all at the Primark prices our customers know and love.”