13th March 2019

Primark joins the trend for sustainable cotton jeans

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Primark, a valued client of Acre, has unveiled a range of jeans made from 100 per cent sustainable cotton – a first for the fashion retailer.

The £13 denim skinny jeans will be sold across the UK and Europe in three different washes: light blue, black and indigo.

They are made with cotton from Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme, which launched in India in 2013. The programme was then rolled into Pakistan last year and now more than 28,000 farmers have enrolled in the training, across both markets.

The jeans range, part of the Primark Cares initiative, follows on from the women’s pyjamas which were produced using sustainably-sourced cotton, with more than 11.2 million pairs purchased since they were launched.

The sustainable cotton uses more natural farming methods which increases the income of cotton farmers, reduces water consumption and minimises the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

The jeans range is a step closer to Primark’s ambitious aim of ensuring all cotton used in its products is sustainably sourced.

Primark recently set up a sustainability collaboration with Alice Liveing, with the creation of 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, Primark’s trading director at Primark, 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.

The programme was developed in partnership with agricultural experts CottonConnect, and local NGOs the Self‐ Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India and the Rural Education and Economic Development Society (REEDS) in Pakistan.
Cotton farmers are trained to use the most appropriate farming techniques for their land, from seed selection, sowing 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.

For information on roles in sustainable apparel, contact Principal Consultant Georgie Beach at georgie.beach@acre.com.