Cotton growers in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are expected to benefit from a sustainable farming programme announced by one of Europe’s biggest fast fashion chains.
Primark, a household name in the UK, has pledged to train 125,000 smallholder cotton farmers by the end of 2023.
The group’s sustainability programme builds skills on using fewer chemical pesticides and fertilisers and less water, thereby preserving biodiversity and helping to mitigate against climate change.
It also lowers input costs and improves yields and profits for the farmer, the group said.
India is the world’s largest producer of cotton and one of the country’s most important crops.
According to the Better Cotton initiative, another sustainability programme, 5.8 million Indian farmers make a living from growing cotton while tens of millions more work in related industries.
Cutting Environmental Impact
Primark, owned by London-listed Associated British Foods, said on Friday the commitment would take the total number of farmers in the programme to over 275,000 by the end of next year.
Last September, Primark vowed to cut its environmental impact by using more recyclable materials, making clothing more durable, and improving wages for workers.
It pledged that 100% of the cotton in its clothes would be sourced from its sustainable cotton programme, organic or recycled by 2027. It also committed to make all its products from recycled fibres or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030.
Currently, almost 40% of Primark clothing is made from recycled fibres or more sustainably sourced materials.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell