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The textile and clothing industry is the sector that with its huge production has the greatest impact on the environment and human health, in fact this sector contributes significantly, with its 1.7 billion tons of CO2 per year, to global greenhouse gas emissions. Each of us, when deciding to buy clothes, should consider the environmental impact that the materials worn can have. With this article, we will show you how the Primark company, after the launch of the Primark Cares line, has announced the first steps forward in the use of sustainable cotton to protect consumers.

Sustainable cotton: meaning and characteristics in clothing

Organic cotton is grown under rules that require farmers not to use pesticides and toxic chemicals. The absence of fertilizers in the cultivation of cotton saves water by 95% and reduces global warming by 46%. In compliance with an ecological clothing production, vegetable soaps and natural dyes are used to obtain sustainable cotton. The sustainable cotton fabrics are therefore comfortable, soft and breathable and hypoallergenic.

Primark’s sustainable cotton program

Primark launches its first sustainable cotton use program in 2013, helping farmers grow cotton using environmentally friendly agricultural practices, and controlling every stage of the production process until reaching an autumn 2022 total of 60 million products made with sustainable cotton. Traceability is a fundamental aspect for company supply chains, in fact, in 2018 the company published on its official website the global map of the supply chains, which shows the production sites of the suppliers. The Primark Sustainable Cotton Program aims to ensure by 2027 that the cotton fibers of all the brand’s clothing are organic, recycled and sustainable. Currently only ⅓ of Primark products are made from sustainable cotton thanks to regenerative agricultural practices, which use water resources more efficiently and improve biodiversity on farms, to ensure that garments last longer.

Primark: does sustainable cotton really mean sustainability?    

Although the company has adopted this demanding program dedicated to the use of sustainable cotton these efforts alone are not enough sustainable cotton is not by definition organic, it is also necessary to intervene in the main sectors of environmental impact along its value creation chain ( for example, in the areas of water consumption, water pollution, climate protection and chemicals.

Instead, the collection created in collaboration with Recover also shows garments in recovered plastic, but there is no effective sustainability of all the materials used. Beyond these aspects, we cannot speak of sustainability at 360° as the company has not announced any changes to the product life cycle in its program and the durability of products in washing currently only concerns denim. A somewhat controversial aspect also concerns the disposal of 57,000 tons of textile waste produced in the year 2021, of which 54,000 were recycled without mentioning the methods. Finally, regarding the company’s commitment to reducing water consumption, the main source for the production of sustainable cotton, no actual data are available.

Certifications and quality of Primark products                                                                     

In fast fashion, every company presents information on the certifications of products made to protect the environment, but in the case of Primark this is only present for some clothing items such as Cradle To Cradle certified jeans. The retail giant adopts a low price policy to make products accessible to all consumers, but there is no trace of a specific commitment to the diffusion of a more responsible consumption model. Therefore, if on the one hand the commitment to make the production departments sustainable is a priority for the fashion retail giant, on the other there are still many critical points that need to be worked on.

We have seen together the strengths and weaknesses of the Primark company. In your opinion, which brands in the clothing sector are most committed to environmental sustainability? What are the most innovative ideas in this sector? If you found our article useful, share it on your social profiles.