Resources - Primark Cares

Frequently Asked Questions

Primark’s always been about making great fashion affordable for everyone. That’s who we are. No matter what budget, we have a great range of fashion and home accessories that costs less than people expect.

But we know our low prices can’t come at a high cost to the planet or the people who make our clothes.

We have the opportunity to bring more sustainable fashion to millions of Primark customers because of the size and scale of our business - and we are already doing this across some of our ranges.

For example, a quarter of all the clothes we sell today come from our Primark Cares range of product made from more sustainably sourced or recycled materials – at the affordable prices our customers love.

And 14% of our cotton clothes are made with cotton from our Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme (PSCP) – set up in 2013 and already the largest of its kind of any international fashion retailer. We don’t pass any price increases from our PSCP cotton products onto the customer.

What we want to do is help people to buy better and more sustainably – at prices they can afford. Our size and scale mean we can make the changes that are needed to become more sustainable by working with our suppliers, without changing our affordable prices, because we believe that more sustainable fashion shouldn’t have to come with a higher price tag.

We care about the welfare of the people who make products for Primark and we are committed to ensuring their safety at work. We do not own factories so we are very selective about which ones we work with. We will not place any orders with suppliers and their factories unless they agree to the internationally-recognised standards set out in our Code of Conduct.

Our Code of Conduct covers areas such as pay, employment policies, the right to join a union, and health & safety, and it is based on the Ethical Trade Initiative’s (ETI) base code and the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO). We’re really proud that the ETI has ranked our Ethical Trade Programme a ‘leader’ since 2011.

Before Primark places any orders, a member of our Ethical Trade team of 130 experts based in our key sourcing countries explains the standards required to prospective suppliers and their factories. The team or our approved audit partners will then carry out a formal inspection of conditions against our Code of Conduct. These inspections allow us to get a detailed picture of working conditions and give workers the opportunity to tell us confidentially what their working life is like.

Every Primark approved factory is then inspected at least once a year, unannounced, as part of our ongoing monitoring programme. If a factory can’t be inspected, we won’t place any new orders with them. If we find any issues as a result of an inspection, we provide the factory with support and guidance to improve. Our preference is to work with suppliers and their factories so they can make the changes required - we know that many workers depend on Primark’s business for a living. But if we find a critical issue, we are not afraid to take swift action. We’ll stop placing new orders until we are happy that changes are made. And, in the most extreme cases, we’ll stop working with a supplier altogether if they do not show commitment to meet our standards.

Visit Our Standards to find out more about our work with suppliers and their factories.

We’ve worked really hard with our supplier’s factories for well over a decade to ensure the factories we use have good working conditions, treat workers decently and pay legally required wages as a minimum.

Because we do not own factories, we are very selective about which ones we work with. We will only work with suppliers and their factories if they agree to the internationally-recognised standards set out in our Code of Conduct. This states that wages must be paid in line with the law or industry benchmark, whichever is highest. The Code is based on standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which is based on those of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

All suppliers and their factories must commit to the Code as part of the terms and conditions of doing business with us. And we won’t place any order with them until our team of experts on the ground have carried out a formal inspection of the factory against the terms of our Code. Our team of 130 experts based in key sourcing countries is responsible for inspecting every Primark approved factory at least once a year, unannounced, as part of our ongoing monitoring programme and these inspections include checking that all suppliers’ factories pay wages at or above the legal minimum wage in the country.

However, we know we need to work much harder to improve wages for the workers across our supply chain – that’s why we’re now pursuing a Living Wage for the people who make our products. As part of this new commitment, we will look at how we work with our suppliers to find ways we can support them to increase wages paid to workers, being clear that we will increasingly prefer to work with suppliers who share our goal.

More information about how we’re working to raise wages for workers by pursuing a Living Wage can be found here.

At Primark we do not own factories and are very selective about who we work with. We require any factory making Primark products to commit to the Primark Code of Conduct as part of the terms and conditions of doing business with us. The Code covers areas such as pay, employment policies, the right to join a union, and health & safety and it is based on the standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which is based on those set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Before Primark places any orders, a member of our dedicated team of 130 experts based on the ground in key sourcing countries explains the standards we require under our Code of Conduct. A formal inspection will then be done to assess a factory’s performance, allowing us to be sure they meet our standards before we work with them.

Every Primark approved factory is then inspected at least once a year, unannounced, as part of our ongoing monitoring programme. If a factory can’t be inspected, we won’t place any new orders with them. If we find any issues as a result of an inspection, we provide the factory with support and guidance to improve. Our preference is to work with suppliers and their factories so they can make the changes required - we know that many workers depend on Primark’s business for a living. But if we find a critical issue, we are not afraid to take swift action. We’ll stop placing new orders until we are happy that changes are made. And, in the most extreme cases, we’ll stop working with a supplier altogether if they do not show commitment to meet our standards.

Visit Our Standards to find out more.

We ban the use of child labour anywhere in the Primark supply chain – it is unacceptable. This is clearly set out in the Primark Code of Conduct, which is based on standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Every one of our suppliers and their factories must follow our Code of Conduct which covers areas such as pay, employment policies, the right to join a union, and health & safety – including minimum age requirements. We do a formal inspection of every factory against the Code before we will place any orders. We have our own dedicated team of 130 experts based in key sourcing countries who are responsible for around 3,000 inspections every year. These inspections allow us to get a detailed picture of what conditions are like inside both new and approved factories and are vital in allowing us to check that our standards are being met.

We ban the use of forced and trafficked labour anywhere in the Primark supply chain – it is unacceptable. This is clearly set out in the Primark Code of Conduct, which is based on standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Every one of our suppliers and their factories must follow our Code of Conduct which covers areas such as pay, employment policies and health & safety. We do a formal inspection of every factory against the Code before we will place any orders. We have our own dedicated team of 130 experts based in key sourcing countries who are responsible for around 3,000 inspections every year. These inspections allow us to get a detailed picture of what conditions are like inside both new and approved factories and are vital in allowing us to check that our standards are being met.

You can read our Modern Slavery statements here.

Primark does not own any factories. In fact, 98% of the factories making products for Primark also manufacture for other brands. However, we are very selective about who we work with. To make it onto Primark’s approved factory list, each factory is vetted to internationally-recognised standards set out in the Primark Code of Conduct. Once approved, it’s the job of our Ethical Trade team, a group of 130 experts based in key sourcing countries, to monitor compliance with our Code of Conduct. They are responsible for around 3,000 inspections every year. These inspections allow us to get a detailed picture of what conditions are like inside both new and approved factories and are vital in allowing us to check that our standards are being met.

Visit Our Standards to find out more.

Rana Plaza was a terrible tragedy and we were deeply shocked and saddened by what happened. Our supplier was one of five who used the factory and Primark was one of 28 brands who worked with that supplier. We took our responsibility to all those affected very seriously.

We worked with local partners to fund emergency food and medical aid. And we provided short-term financial aid - equivalent to nine months' salary – for more than 3,600 workers and their families.

We also focused on the long-term needs of our supplier’s workers and their families. This included financial assistance for the years ahead and helping people with legal advice, setting up bank accounts, and taking control of their own financial future for the long term.

And we set up a broader non-financial support programme for the people and families affected – especially the children who’d lost a parent.

We were also one of the first retailers to sign up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh reaffirming Primark’s commitment to collaborate with other brands, factory owners, NGOs, trade unions and the Government of Bangladesh to bring about sustainable positive change in the Bangladeshi garment industry.

In September 2021, we signed the new International Accord because we want to continue ensuring good and safe working conditions for the people who make our clothes.

In 2013, we also established our own rigorous programme of factory structural integrity surveys to assess our suppliers’ factories, whilst continuing to work closely with the Accord, and more recently the Ready-Made Garment (RMG) Sustainability Council. Structural integrity surveys are now a core part of our programme in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar.

Read more about the support provided by Primark since the Rana Plaza building collapse here.

We do not own the factories we use so we are very selective about who we work with. We require any factory making Primark products to commit to the Primark Code of Conduct as part of the terms and conditions of doing business with us. The Code covers areas such as pay, employment policies, the right to join a trade union, and health & safety and it is based on the standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Before Primark places any orders, a member of our dedicated team of 130 experts based in our key sourcing countries explains the standards we require under our Code of Conduct. The team or our approved audit partners will then carry out a formal inspection to assess a factory’s performance, allowing us to be sure they meet our standards before we work with them.

Every Primark approved factory is then inspected at least once a year, unannounced, as part of our ongoing monitoring programme. If a factory can’t be inspected, we won’t place any new orders with them. If we find any issues as a result of an inspection, we provide the factory with support and guidance to improve. Our preference is to work with suppliers and their factories so they can make the changes required - we know that many workers depend on Primark’s business for a living. But if we find a critical issue, we are not afraid to take swift action. We’ll stop placing new orders until we are happy that changes are made. And, in the most extreme cases, we’ll stop working with a supplier altogether if they do not show commitment to meet our standards.

Visit Our Standards to find out more about our work with suppliers and their factories.

As part of our commitment to becoming a more sustainable business, it is important to us that we reduce the environmental impact of our business as much as possible.

We have committed to halving carbon emissions across our value chain by 2030

We wanted to take our commitment to reduce carbon emissions a step further than the current 30% reduction committed under the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (UNFCCC). That’s why we’ve committed to halve carbon emissions across our every stage of creating a Primark product by 2030.

This builds on the number of systems already in place. For example, almost all of our stores have a Building Management System which allows us to look at whether stores are being run efficiently. We also established an Energy Reduction Group in 2015 to find new ways to save energy. They’ve introduced new technology like the ERICC system, which provides store managers in nearly 100 stores with real-time information and advice on their energy usage as well as training programmes for staff. And we’ve put in place an extensive energy efficiency programme with all stores now certified to energy management certification ISO50001.

We will eliminate single-use plastics and all our non-clothing waste by 2027

We already divert 96% of the waste we directly control from ending up in landfill and we’re working with a handful of shopping centres to divert the remaining 4%. We’re doing this by making things more efficient. For example, we minimise packaging by only wrapping our product shipments once – the products are packaged by suppliers and only opened again once they reach the store.

We also use the same trucks that deliver our products to stores to collect recyclable material and take it back to our distribution centres for onward recycling. This reduces the amount of trucks on the road and the amount of onsite waste collections at our stores.

We committed to eliminating single-use plastics from our business and we are making good progress on that commitment – in the last two years, we’ve removed half a billion items of single-use plastic.

We will become a more sustainable and circular business, which includes designing clothes that will be recyclable by design by 2027.

This builds on the work we have already done.

Our stores across Europe have donated any unsold clothing to the charity Newlife since 2010. Newlife specialises in providing support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families by funding equipment and providing specially trained nurses to help with children’s care. In the U.S. we partner with a not-for-profit organisation called Delivering Good.

Additionally, we have in-store recycling bins so that customers can give their pre-loved clothes a second life.

Visit the Planet page to find out more.

Suppliers and their factories use a range of fabrics and dyes to create Primark products. It’s important to us that suppliers take the right steps to make supply chains more sustainable. That includes the chemicals they use.

We have signed up to the ZDHC Foundation’s programme, in which we are phasing out certain chemicals deemed hazardous and replacing them with alternatives. Primark has committed to the ZDHC’s Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) which lists the substances in chemicals that suppliers are banned from using when making Primark products. We also have a Product Restricted Substance List (PRSL) which is based on EU & USA regulations and provides suppliers and their factories with the allowable limits for chemicals in the materials used to make our products. Our MRSL and PRSL are updated regularly, and available on our website. In 2014, we signed up to Greenpeace’s Detox campaign which is also centred around phasing out the use of certain chemicals within our supply chain, and we report regularly on our progress.

At Primark, we don’t buy raw materials directly. Instead, the factories or suppliers that make it onto our approved supplier list are responsible for sourcing the raw materials used in our products. It matters to us that they are sourced responsibly and we are working closely with our suppliers to establish transparency and traceability throughout our supply chain.

A big part of this is the work we are doing on cotton. Cotton is one of the most important natural fibres used to make our products and can be found in more than half of all the clothes we sell. Our ambition is to ensure that all cotton used in our supply chain is organic, recycled or sourced through our Sustainable Cotton Programme by 2027. In 2013 we teamed up with agricultural experts CottonConnect and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India to create the Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme. The programme trains farmers in more sustainable farming methods, enabling them to improve their livelihoods through increased income. The programme launched with 1,251 female farmers and has been a huge success. By the end of next year, we will have trained 160,000 farmers in our Sustainable Cotton Programme.

Primark has also signed the Responsible Sourcing Network’s (RSN) Cotton Pledge and has committed to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of its products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced and child labour in its cotton sector. We signed the pledge in 2015, and in 2016 extended the pledge to cover Turkmenistan, following reports of practices of forced labour in the cotton sector there.

Visit the Planet page to find out more.

We don’t currently use Fairtrade materials. We are however working to sustainably produce one of the main fibres used in our clothes – cotton. In 2013 we partnered with agricultural experts CottonConnect and SEWA – the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India to introduce a new programme specifically designed to train and support farmers to introduce more sustainable farming methods. The programme is designed to help the farmers to grow more cotton in a way that minimises impact on the environment. We’ve seen some great results since the programme started and by the end of next year, we will have trained a total of 160,000 farmers in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh through our Sustainable Cotton Programme.

Animal testing is not permitted on any Primark products. Any supplier making products for Primark which include materials from animals, such as wool, must commit to industry-recognised standards of animal welfare throughout our supply chain.

No, we do not sell any products containing mohair.

We’re famous and loved for our low prices – this doesn’t mean low quality. We want our customers to wear our clothes time and time again which is why we’re focusing on creating clothes that are made to last – at prices people can afford.

We currently test our garments to a widely accepted standard within the industry but we’re going to go further so that we can give customers the reassurance that they can trust that what they buy with Primark will last. We’ve embarked on a programme that involves testing all our most popular lines to higher wash standards, and we’ve also consulted WRAP, the UK charity committed to accelerating the fashion industry’s move to circularity, on longevity protocols. Starting with denim, we’re delighted that already nearly 70% of jeans tested today meet the 30-wash standard recommended by WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. We think this will make a big difference because around half of the products we sell are everyday essentials, like t-shirts, jeans, and pyjamas. We want our customers to enjoy wearing our products, time and time again.

Additionally, we’re already signed up to Textiles 2030, and will be working with WRAP and other signatories on refreshing its clothing longevity protocol. This will help inform our work to develop our own Primark Durability Standard, and the work on our products, to ensure that our range of clothing offers durability. This new Standard will mean more, rigorous testing of our garments, putting clothes through ‘wearing’ trials to test their durability, educating customers on how to care for their clothes and selling repair kits. This is a big programme of work, and will take some time, but we’re focusing on the ranges and products that form the staples in customers wardrobe so they start to see the benefits of our durability goal soon. Customers will also have to play their part so we’ll be talking to our customers about how to care for their clothes and sell repair kits to keep them for longer.

Read more about how we’re creating clothes that will last longer here

Primark is about making great fashion affordable for everyone – that’s who we are. But what we want to do is help people to buy better and more sustainably at prices they can afford because we believe that more sustainable fashion should not have to come with a high price tag.

We will always offer our customers new trends, but around half of our clothes today are everyday essentials like t-shirts, jeans and pyjamas – clothes we want customers to feel good about wearing year after year.

The sustainability commitments we have made require us to change how we do business and the way we make the clothes we sell. Whether it’s the way we make our products to reduce fashion waste, halving our carbon footprint, or using the power of our business to improve the lives of people who make Primark’s products, because of our scale, we have the opportunity to make an impact with every change we make.

We have made serious commitments that will change how we do business and the way the clothes we sell are made, including ensuring our clothes will be made from recycled or more sustainable materials, designing clothes so that they can be recycled at the end of their life, and only using cotton that is organic, recycled or sourced from our Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme – the largest of its kind in the fashion industry. We will also halve our carbon footprint and use the power of our business to improve the lives of the people who make our clothes.

Because of our scale, we have the opportunity to make an impact with every change that we make because we want to offer millions of customers the chance to shop more sustainably at prices they can afford.

Read more about Our Commitments to becoming a more sustainable business.

You might be surprised to learn how much we have done already. Far from starting from scratch, we’re actually building on a decade of work to become more sustainable.

For example, our Sustainable Cotton Programme, launched in 2013, is now the largest of its kind in the fashion industry and accounts for 14% of all our cotton clothing. By the end of next year, we will have trained 160,000 farmers in more natural and sustainable cotton farming methods, reducing the use of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and water.

We have grown our Primark Cares range of clothes made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials so it now accounts for 25% of all clothing sales – we’ve committed to get to 100% by 2030.

We’ve pledged to eliminate single-use plastics from our business by 2027 and we are on track to reach this. In the last two years, we’ve already removed half a billion single-use plastic items.

We are also signatories to a number of critical industry initiatives e.g. Textiles 2030 and the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (UNFCCC) – and we’re partnering with key independent leaders in the field of sustainable fashion such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WRAP, the UK charity committed to accelerating the fashion industry’s move to circularity.

We’ve built up a team of 130 experts worldwide based in each our key sourcing markets who inspect every supplier factory in the Primark supply chain at least once a year, unannounced, to ensure the internationally-recognised standards in our Code of Conduct are being met.

The progress we’ve made in recent years has given us a strong foundation from which to build to be better, and to do more.

Read more about the progress we have already made to become more sustainable here.