Primark Shares Progress on its Journey to Make More Sustainable Fashion Affordable for All

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by KnowESG
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Even though the cost of living is going up, Primark is still committed to its goal of making sustainable fashion affordable for everyone. One year after the launch of its Primark Cares sustainability strategy, 45% of all clothes Primark sold came under its Primark Cares label, which denotes clothes that contain either recycled or more sustainable materials.

Primark has committed to transitioning 100% of its clothes to its Primark Cares label by 2030 while keeping its same Primark great value pricing.

Primark’s inaugural Sustainability and Ethics Progress Report sets out the company’s progress across its Primark Cares commitments and also outlines its broader social impact and environmental sustainability work across its products, stores, and the wider supply chain. The increased focus and investment in new teams and skills across the business have allowed Primark to accelerate progress against its commitments.

The highlights from the Report include:

  • 40% of all cotton clothing units sold contained cotton that is recycled, organic or sourced from its PSCP, up from 27% at launch.

  • New Circular Design Training Programme piloted for 24 members of the Product team and six suppliers, to be scaled up in the next 12 months.

  • 43 repair workshops took place across the UK and the Republic of Ireland (ROI), encouraging customers and colleagues to keep and wear their clothes for longer.

  • The Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme (PSCP) has trained 252,800 farmers and is on track to train 275,000 farmers by the end of 2023, making it the largest of its kind at any single fashion retailer.

  • Almost 3,000 farmers from the PSCP participated in a pilot for the adoption of more regenerative cotton farming in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

  • Textile Takeback boxes now rolled out across all UK, ROI, Germany and Austria stores – representing 65% of all stores internationally.

  • Primark established a Packaging Centre of Excellence to explore new ways to eliminate single-use plastic and non-clothing waste by 2027.

  • In collaboration with the Anker Research Institute, Primark commissioned and funded research to provide new or updated Global Living Wage Coalition estimates for four of its sourcing markets: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Turkey, and Vietnam.

  • Established four new Colleague Networks, creating inclusive and supportive spaces for colleagues to discuss, represent and shape Primark’s thinking on neurodiversity and disability; cultural diversity; gender and life stages; and LGBTQIA+.

Primark Cares Director Lynne Walker said:

"The past 12 months have been about building the right foundations for our sustainability strategy, Primark Cares. Much of our focus has been on getting ourselves set up in the right way to meet the commitments we’ve made, which is why pilots and processes have been as important as the progress we’ve delivered during this first year.

"One year ago, we made a new promise to change the way we make and source our clothes, with a commitment to think differently about how we do business. To provide focus, we deliberately stretched our targets, reaching 2030.

"We’ve spent the last year investing in and growing our expert teams, collaborating in new ways within our own business and also with suppliers and partners to support our transformation. It’s felt challenging at times, and we know we’re only getting started, but one year in, we’re more committed than ever to make more sustainable fashion affordable for all.”

This foundational year has also been critical to developing important internal processes and programmes, including:

  • Building on the existing teams and scaling capability across the business with 61 people now dedicated to sustainability and ethics in Primark’s Head Office and more than 130 team members in Primark’s Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability team, set up 15 years ago and now operating in 12 key sourcing markets.

  • Developing a renewable energy roadmap with partner RenEnergy and recruiting carbon leads in Bangladesh, India and China to support suppliers in reducing emissions as part of Primark’s commitment to halve carbon emissions across its whole value chain by 2030.

  • Piloting a new framework for an enhanced durability wash standard with leading climate action NGO WRAP. This has started with denim, and 60% of the product tested so far has passed this new enhanced standard.

  • Launching the Spark wellbeing programme to 70,000 colleagues, encouraging colleagues to be their best selves and find balance in both work and life.

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Source: Primark

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