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Primark Introduces First Sustainable Cotton Apparel

Primark is making sustainable cotton a permanent fixture in its stores.

On Wednesday, the Dublin-based retailer debuted its first eco-friendly cotton products—women’s pajamas—that use cotton purchased directly from female farmers participating in Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Program.

Retailing at 6.00 pounds ($7.80) per set, the range of 16 different pajamas will be sold at Primark locations worldwide. As part of its commitment to deliver affordable and eco-friendly fashion, the pajamas are the same price as Primark’s regular cotton pajamas and clearly labeled to help shoppers identify which clothes are made with sustainable cotton. Considering a third of women’s pajamas in the U.K. are purchased from Primark, this move is expected to accelerate Primark’s efforts in creating a greener supply chain.

Since 2013, Primark has teamed with agricultural experts CottonConnect and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) for its Sustainable Cotton Program. Over the past four years, the program has trained more than 6,000 female farmers in sustainable farming methods, to help improve their livelihoods with fair income. Throughout the program, participating farmers are trained to sustainably cultivate cotton seeds, reduce the use of harmful pesticides and grow cotton without wasting natural resources.

[Read more on Primark’s sustainability efforts: For Primark, Sustainable Cotton Farming Can Cut Input Costs]

Results from the first intake of farmers (1,251 farmers from 2013-2016) showed that the program enabled farmers to improve cotton yield and, on average, increase profits by more than 200 percent. Following a successful run, Primark is now able to promote a more sustainable cotton supply chain, improve the lives of female farmers in India and bring sustainable cotton to its women’s clothing.

“Our long-term ambition is to ensure that all the cotton we use is sustainably sourced. There has never been a single definition of sustainable cotton,” Primark ethical trade and environmental safety director Katharine Stewart said. “For us, sustainable cotton is about reducing the environmental impact of cotton production, improving the livelihoods of the farmers, and doing so in a way that means we continue to deliver great value to our customers.”