LONDON, Sept. 15 (Reuters) – Primark, one of Europe’s largest fast-fashion chains, has pledged to reduce its environmental impact without raising prices by using more recyclable materials, making clothes more sustainable and improving the wages of workers.
With environmental activists targeting the fashion industry for its heavy use of water and chemicals, big brands are under pressure to adapt supply chains and tackle a culture that has led to landfill millions of articles.
Primark, which sells more than a billion items a year, including sweaters and jeans for as little as 7 pounds ($ 10) each, said its task was to make sustainable fashion accessible to everyone, not only to those who can afford it.
“We believe sustainability shouldn’t be charged at a price that only a minority can afford,” said CEO Paul Marchant, echoing rivals such as H&M and Zara who have also made plans to improve the use of sustainable raw materials.
Many environmental activists are skeptical of brands’ green commitments, believing they are driven by a need for good public relations and that the industry needs a broader culture change instead. Primark says his slim waist means he can tell the difference.
Owned by Associated British Foods (ABF.L), Primark started in Ireland in 1969 before taking Britain by storm with its ultra-low prices that led many shoppers to walk out of stores holding their paper bags. brown filled with clothes. It is now present in 14 markets, including the United States.
While the British company had previously joined the industry’s environmental efforts, Wednesday’s statement marks the first time it has published its own measurable goals.
As part of the plan, a team of staff will work with its factories – which it does not own – to improve energy efficiency levels and encourage the use of renewable energy. It will aim to phase out single-use plastic and continue to shift to farming practices that use less water and fewer chemicals.
It plans to strengthen the sustainability of clothing by 2025, make it recyclable by design by 2027 and make all of its clothing from recycled materials or from more sustainable sources by 2030.
In addition to these changes, he also plans to work with factories and competitors who use the same sites to improve wages.
Working conditions in the textile industry have been in the spotlight since the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 workers, with activists wondering how brands like Primark can produce prices too low.
($ 1 = 0.7232 pounds)
Editing by Mark Potter
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.