Primark says its move is part of a wide-ranging 10-year plan to reduce waste, halve carbon emissions and improve the pay of factory workers and it says it can do it without increasing prices
Fashion giant Primark has pledged that all its clothes will be made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials by the end of the decade.
Britain’s biggest clothing firm by volume is also promising that virtually all its garments will be recyclable within six years.
Bosses insist the changes will not result in prices having to rise.
They are part of a wide-ranging 10-year plan to reduce waste, halve carbon emissions and improve the pay of factory workers in its supply chain.
Primark has also pledged to make its clothes more “durable” – so they last longer.
The set of promises is likely to be seen as a major step towards encouraging other big fashion brands to follow suit.
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Primark has always denied its clothes are “throwaway fashion”, despite their cheap prices.
The measures announced on Wednesday will impact hundreds of millions of clothes it sells every year.
The retailer has nearly 400 stores in 14 countries and notched-up £5.9billion in sales in 2020, despite taking a big hit from the Covid crisis.
Unlike rivals, it does not sell clothes online.
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At present, 25% of Primark’s clothes are made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials.
To begin with, all the firm’s men’s, women’s and kids’ entry price point T-shirts will move to being made with sustainably sourced cotton over the next year.
The pledge to make all its clothes recyclable by 2027 starts with the way they are designed, so the material can be more easily reused.
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The pledges extend to the firm’s factory workers – a key area of focus for Primark and rivals such Boohoo in recent years.
Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, says it will “pursue” a living wage for workers in its supply chain.
Primark chief executive Paul Marchant, said: “This is a new and exciting chapter in the Primark story.
“Our ambition is to offer customers the affordable prices they know and love us for, but with products that are made in a way that is better for the planet and the people who make them.”
Patrick O’Brien, UK retail research director at analytics experts GlobalData, said yesterday’s announcement was as much about appealing to investors.
He added: “While surveys reveal it to be a growing area of consumer concern, there is scant evidence that, for the moment at least, sustainability and other ethical concerns are usurping price as the key purchasing driver.”