Primark divulges sustainability strategy to reduce fashion waste

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Primark has unveiled a wide-reaching sustainability strategy, designed to reduce fashion waste, half carbon emissions across its value chain and improve the lives of the people who make Primark products.

Primark
Figure 1: Primark has unveiled a wide-reaching sustainability strategy, designed to reduce fashion waste.

Recently it has announced to make its lowest priced t-shirts from more sustainable materials as part of its mission to make ethical shopping more affordable.

According to the company, all of the cotton in the lowest price t-shirts from its menswear and kidswear ranges will come from Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme, the largest of its kind of any fashion retailer.

Primark’s new commitments will see the company ensure all its clothing is made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030 – today this accounts for 25 percent of all clothes sold and  next step, all men’s, women’s and kids’ entry price point will transition to being made with sustainably sourced cotton over the next year.

It is also committed to improving the durability of its clothing so it can be loved and worn for longer, including working to define new industry guidelines on durability with WRAP, the UK charity committed to accelerate the fashion industry’s move to circularity.

Primark CEO, Paul Marchant said, “This is a new and exciting chapter in the Primark story. Our ambition is to offer customers the affordable prices they know and love us for, but with products that are made in a way that is better for the planet and the people who make them. We know that’s what our customers, and our colleagues, want and expect from us.”

Their new commitments mark a significant acceleration in the pace and scale of change, requiring them to think differently about the business, he added.

The new strategy builds on the work Primark has undertaken over the last ten years. Informed by experts from across the industry, it covers Primark’s own operations, as well as its global supply chain. The strategy expands on commitments the business has already made as a signatory to major industry initiatives.

These include Textiles 2030, the WRAP initiative to accelerate the fashion and textile industry’s move towards circularity and system change in the UK.

Primark
Figure 2: Primark’s new commitments will see the company ensure all its clothing is made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

The business is also a partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to inform its journey towards circularity, including making all its clothes recyclable by design.

On the other hand, the retailer will build on its established ethical trade initiatives and existing partnership with ACT to improve the lives of the people who make its clothes by pursuing a living wage for workers in its supply chain and investing in programmes that provide greater opportunities for women.

“We believe that sustainability shouldn’t be priced at a premium that only a minority can afford. Because of who we are, we believe we have the opportunity to make more sustainable fashion choices affordable to all,” Paul Marchant also said.

Primark will use its 397 stores across 14 countries to share more information with customers about the changes it is making with its ‘How Change Looks’ campaign, that will  make it easier for customers to make changes themselves with initiatives ranging from expanding the number of recycling bins in stores.

To collect and recycle clothing at the end of its life, to educating consumers on techniques to lengthen the lifespan of their wardrobe – from sewing skills to guidance on washing practices.