High street fashion retailer launches first range of jeans made with material sourced directly from farmers in its Sustainable Cotton Programme
The first jeans made entirely from sustainable cotton have hit the shelves of Primark stores across the country, the retailer announced today.
The jeans are the first to be made solely from cotton sourced through Primark's Sustainable Cotton Programme, which aims to minimise the use of chemical pesticides, reduce water consumption, and boost farmers' incomes.
The women's skinny jeans come in three different washes - indigo, black or light blue - with a price tag of £13 (€17) each. They are to be launched in Primark stores across all the company's markets today.
The move follows the introduction of sustainably sourced cotton into Primark's women's pyjamas range, which have sold over 11.2 million pairs since their launch in 2017. Primark has also recently launched tops and leggings made from recycled polyester, and two biodegradable water bottles.
Denim is a notoriously resource-intensive material to manufacture, requiring thousands of litres of water and contributing as much in greenhouse gas emissions as driving a car 80 miles.
Katharine Stewart, ethical trade and environmental sustainability director at Primark, said the new range of women's skinny jeans are an important step towards introducing sustainable cotton across the firm's 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," she said.
Primark's Sustainable Cotton Programme launched in India in 2013 before expanding into Pakistan last year. Although not an organic sourcing programme, it encourages farmers to grow cotton using more natural farming methods by offering training on cotton seed selection, sowing, soil, water, and pesticide and pest management, as well as picking methods, fibre quality, and storage of harvested cotton. More than 28,000 farmers have now enrolled in training programmes in both countries, according to Primark.
The company claims early results from the programme in Pakistan have been "promising", with farmers' profits increasing alongside average reductions of more than 20 per cent in chemical pesticide and fertiliser use, while water use has fallen by more than 15 per cent.
The announcement comes amid soaring consumer interest in sustainable fashion and criticism from MPs, who claim companies are not doing enough to reduce fashion's outsized environmental impact on the planet.