Penneys has launched a major sustainability pledge – and here is what is changing in store
We all know by now that the fashion industry is a major contributor to global pollution, waste and water use.
Meaning, we all need to know that what we buy will last, buy less and, in general, be more mindful of our consumption patterns.
Luckily, the fashion retailers are following suit, and right now, Primark – Penneys to us here in Ireland – is seriously upping their game when it comes to sustainability.
Earlier this week, the Irish clothing empire announced a significant sustainability pledge, and there are some seriously major changes coming down the line.
In brief, the new strategy commits Primark to reduce fashion waste, halving carbon emissions and improving the lives of the people who make Primark products.
The new strategy commits the international fashion retailer to change the way its clothes are made without changing its affordable prices, enabling everyone to make more sustainable choices when shopping.
Primark’s new commitments will see the company ensure all its clothing is made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030 – today this accounts for 25 per cent of all clothes sold.
As a next step, all men’s, women’s and kids’ entry price point t-shirts will transition to being made with sustainably sourced cotton over the next year.
Primark will also make changes to its design process ensuring that all clothes can be recycled at the end of their life to help reduce fashion waste.
Even better? The high street clothing giant is also committed to improving the durability of its clothing so it can be loved and worn for longer, including working to define new industry guidelines on durability with WRAP, the UK charity committed to accelerating the fashion industry’s move to circularity.
"This is a new and exciting chapter in the Primark story," Primark CEO, Paul Marchant, said.
"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. We know that’s what our customers, and our colleagues, want and expect from us."
The new strategy builds on the work Primark has undertaken over the last ten years, and expands on commitments already made.
"This isn’t the start of our journey," Marchant explains.
"We’ve been working to become a more sustainable and ethical business for over 10 years. One in four of all the clothes we sell already come from our Primark Cares range of products made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials. Our new commitments mark a significant acceleration in the pace and scale of change, requiring us to think differently about how we do business. Right from how our clothes are designed and manufactured, through to how we sell them in stores."
Alongside changing the way its clothes are made, Primark will work with its suppliers to cut carbon emissions by half throughout its value chain, and will also eliminate single-use plastics in its own operations, building on the more than 500 million items removed already.
The retailer will also expand its Sustainable Cotton Programme, already the largest of its kind in the fashion industry, and train farmers to use more regenerative farming practices, building on sustainable practices such as using less water and fewer chemicals.
"We believe that sustainability shouldn’t be priced at a premium that only a minority can afford," Marchant says.
"Because of who we are, we believe we have the opportunity to make more sustainable fashion choices affordable to all.”
Primark will use its 397 stores across 14 countries to share more information with customers about the changes it is making with its ‘How Change Looks’ campaign.
Another feature we love is that they will make it easier for customers to make changes themselves with initiatives ranging from expanding the number of recycling bins in stores to collect and recycle clothing at the end of its life, to educating consumers on techniques to lengthen the lifespan of their wardrobe – from sewing skills to guidance on washing practices.