Primark is to hugely expand its sustainable cotton programme, which is designed to bring environmental benefits and support farmers’ livelihoods.

The initiative will help Primark towards the target that all cotton in its clothes will be organic, recycled or from the sustainable cotton programme by 2027. 

Primark said that the expansion of the scheme commits it to training an additional 125,000 smallholder cotton farmers in more sustainable farming methods in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh by the end of next year, increasing the expected availability of sustainable cotton for its products by 60%.

The extension of the programme brings the total number of farmers involved to more than 275,000 – up 80%, which Primark said cements its ”position as the largest of its kind of any single fashion retailer”.

Primark launched the programme in India in 2013 in partnership with organisations including the Self-Employed Women’s Association. It has since been expanded to Pakistan and Bangladesh, training 150,000 smallholders and 80% of them are women.

Primark Cares director Lynne Walker said: We developed our sustainable cotton programme with our partners to reduce the impact on the environment, support farmer livelihoods and improve the way we source our cotton. We’re proud of how far it’s come, evolving into the largest of its kind of any single fashion retailer.

”It has taken time to build a programme of this scale, and the positive impact it has had on the livelihoods of thousands of farmers means we can continue its expansion.

“Our sustainable cotton programme plays an integral role in our long-term vision to make more sustainable clothes affordable for everyone. Over half of our clothes are made with cotton, so by further increasing the number of farmers, we will be able to meet our commitment that all the cotton in our clothing will be organic, recycled or from our programme by 2027.”

  • Don’t miss the best of the week – sign up to receive the Editor’s Choice every Friday