The words Primark and sustainability are never usually side-by-side. The Irish-owed fashion brand are known for their affordable yet flimsy clothing items. In the Fashion Transparency Index, Primark even received a score of 31-40%, meaning that information related to their supply chain is limited.
However, in recent years, Primark has noticed the demand for ethical and sustainable clothes. On an ethical level, Primark supports the Cotton Pledge, which is an initiative set up to boycott Uzbekistan cotton. From an environmental perspective, the brand is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and in European stores, unsold clothing is donated to the charity Newlife. While these changes are steps in the right direction, Primark is rated ‘Not Good Enough’ on the Good On You app, a tool used to measure a brand’s impacts on the planet, animals and people.
In September 2021, Primark pledged to making all its clothing items sustainable by 2030. By 2027, the brand aim to have all clothes “recyclable by design”. This is an outstanding claim, given that only a quarter of Primark’s clothes are made from recycled materials. The goal is to make sustainable fashion more affordable and accessible. According to Primark, this shift towards more sustainably sourced clothing will not increase costs.
Primark’s claims have received critique due to their vagueness. As ‘sustainable’ is not clearly defined by the brand, Primark has the power to greenwash customers. Greenwashing is the process of falsely selling items as sustainable and ethical, in order to follow the trend and demand for sustainable clothing.
To find out more about Primark’s pledge, visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58575692.