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Primark sets out new sustainability targets

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-09-16 11:08:58 – Ireland

Irish fast-fashion company, Primark, has pledged to make sustainable fashion more affordable to all under a new nine-year sustainability program.

Primark’s new commitments will see the company ensure that by 2030, all its garments are made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials as part of a new "wide-reaching" sustainability strategy  – currently accounts for 25% of all clothes sold. As a next step, over the next year, the shop will switch all of its men’s, women’s, and kids’ entry price point t-shirts to sustainably sourced cotton. 

Primark won’t just change the way its clothing is made but the company will also work with its suppliers to cut carbon emissions across its value chain by half by 2030, ensuring that people in its supply chain are paid a living wage. It will eliminate single-use plastics in its own operations, adding to the more than 500 million products that have previously been phased out.

Primark will also adapt its design process in order to ensure that its items can be recycled at the end of their lives, which will assist to reduce fashion waste. It is also committed to enhancing the durability of its garments so that they can be loved and worn for longer, including collaborating with WRAP, a UK charity dedicated to speeding the fashion industry's transition to circularity, to create new industry durability norms.

Primark's new strategy builds on the company's previous efforts over the last ten years. It encompasses Primark's own operations as well as its worldwide supply chain, and it is informed by specialists from throughout the industry. The plan builds on the company's previous pledges as a signatory to significant industry initiatives. Textiles 2030, a WRAP program aimed at speeding up the fashion and textile industry's transition to circularity and system transformation in the UK, is one of them. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has also partnered with the company to help it on its journey to circularity, which includes making all of its garments recyclable by design.

In addition, the company will expand its Sustainable Cotton Program and train farmers to utilize more regenerative agricultural practices, such as using less water and fewer chemicals. This will be accomplished through CottonConnect's cooperation, which will employ the industry-leading REEL Regenerative Code to boost biodiversity, adapt to climate change, and improve farmer livelihoods.

Primark will also build on its existing ethical trade initiatives and relationship with ACT to enhance the lives of the people who create its garments by pursuing a living wage for its supply chain employees and investing in programs that give women more opportunity.

Primark, widely seen as the face of the throwaway fast-fashion business, has made a fortune over the years by churning out massive amounts of apparel at startlingly low rates - t-shirts in its stores can be had for as little as two pounds. Concerns have been expressed not only about the environmental impact of such business models but also about the possible exploitation of individuals who produce such low-cost garments.

Paul Marchant, CEO of Primark, said that their goal is to provide customers with the same low pricing they've come to expect from them, but with products that are better for the environment and the people who manufacture them. They know what their customers and colleagues want and expect from them.

Primark was particularly heavily struck by the epidemic because, unlike many of its competitors, it has an e-commerce platform to cover shop closure losses. Despite this, the corporation claims that sales in reopened markets have been high. In the second half of 2021, it plans to generate sales of 3.4 billion pounds.

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