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 has allowed Primark to accelerate progress against its commitments.
Primark added that in the face of rising cost-of-living pressures, it remains intent on delivering its vision of making more sustainable fashion affordable for all. One year on since the launch of its Primark Cares sustainability strategy, 45% of all clothes Primark sold came under its Primark Cares label denoting clothes that contain either recycled or more sustainable materials.
Highlights from the Primark’s sustainability report:
- 40% of all cotton clothing units sold contained cotton that is recycled, organic or sourced from its Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme (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 Republic of Ireland (ROI), encouraging customers and colleagues to keep and wear their clothes for longer.
- 252,800 farmers trained in the Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme (PSCP): on track to train 275,000 farmers by end of 2023, cementing this programme as the biggest of its kind of 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.
- Commissioned and funded research with the Anker Research Institute to provide new or updated Global Living Wage Coalition estimates for four of Primark’s 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+.
“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,” commented Primark Cares director Lynne Walker.
“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 set deliberately stretching targets reaching to 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.”