The launch of its first sustainable cotton jeans is an important step as Primark moves towards using sustainably sourced cotton across its product ranges. This range follows the introduction of sustainably sourced cotton into one of Primark’s most popular product lines – women’s pyjamas – which have sold over 11.2 million pairs since launch.
The jeans are made with cotton from Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme, which launched in India in 2013. The programme helps farmers grow cotton using more natural farming methods, including minimising the use of chemical pesticides and reducing water consumption, whilst also increasing their incomes. Following the expansion of the programme into Pakistan last year, Primark has announced that more than 28,000 farmers*1) across both markets have now enrolled in the training. Early year one results recorded in Pakistan are promising, with farmers’ profits already increasing. They are also starting to see average reductions of more than 20% in chemical pesticide and fertiliser use and more than 15% in water use.
The jeans – launched under the Primark Cares initiative – are Primark’s latest sustainable staples following its recent, in‐demand collaboration with Alice Liveing, which featured a top and leggings set made from recycled polyester, as well as two biodegradable water bottles. More sustainable cotton products will be released in the coming year, including homeware.
Paula Dumont Lopez, Trading Director at Primark, who leads buying, merchandising and design of Primark’s womenswear, said: “Following the successful introduction of sustainable cotton pyjamas into store, we are so proud to introduce this range. From harvesting the sustainable cotton from fields in India and Pakistan, right through to using recycled paper for our Primark Cares labels, sustainability has been at the heart of every stage of developing and designing these jeans.
“Our Sustainable Cotton Programme is not only good for the planet, but it is also changing lives in India and Pakistan. That’s why I was so passionate about using the cotton in jeans, one of our most popular product ranges.”
Developed in partnership with agricultural experts CottonConnect, and local NGOs SEWA (the Self‐ Employed Women’s Association) in India and REEDS (the Rural Education and Economic Development Society) in Pakistan, the programme trains farmers in the most appropriate farming techniques for their land. This ranges from seed selection, sowing, soil, water, pesticide and pest management, to picking, fibre quality, grading and storage of the harvested cotton.
Alison Ward, CEO at CottonConnect, said: “We have been working with Primark since this programme was first launched 2013. Not only are we materially changing the lives of farmers and their families in rural cotton communities, but by working closely with Primark and their supply chain partners we have been able to trace the cotton all the way from the farm into products – a challenging but important step towards increased supply chain transparency.”
Katharine Stewart, Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director at Primark, said: “These jeans are an important step as we aim to introduce sustainable cotton across our entire product range. For us, the aims of the programme are three‐fold: to help reduce the impact of cotton production on the environment, to equip farmers with the skills they need to improve their livelihoods and to offer our customers sustainable products at a great price.”
Primark operates over 360 stores in eleven countries: Republic of Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, the US and Italy; and has over 75,000 employees.
*1) 28,096 farmers combined across India and Pakistan (7,777 in India from 2013‐2018 and 20,319 in Pakistan since the introduction of the programme in 2018). By 2022, more than 30,000 farmers will be trained in sustainable cotton farming methods.