At Primark we’re proud of our low prices. No matter what budget, we have a great range of fashion and home accessories that costs less than people expect.
We sometimes get asked how we’re able to combine such good value with good ethics.
There’s no secret - our business is based on doing a few things differently to other brands.
We sell a lot of the same items, which means we’re able to make savings from placing large orders with the factories and suppliers that make our products. We also choose not to spend money on things that other retailers might. You might have noticed for example that we don’t do TV advertising or hardly any other advertising either. And, where possible, we keep our packaging simple. You won’t find expensive clothes hangers, price tags or labels on Primark products.
All of this means we’re able to pass on those savings to you. So while our prices might be low, the standards we set ourselves and those who supply Primark are high. Explore this site to find out more about our work with suppliers and their factories.
The welfare of the people who make products for Primark matters to us. We do not own factories and are very selective about those we work with. We require every supplier and factory making goods on our behalf to commit to meet internationally-recognised standards as set out in the Primark Code of Conduct. The Code is based on standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which is based on those of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It includes the provision of safe and hygienic working conditions.
Before Primark places a first order, a member of the Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Team explains the standards required to prospective suppliers and their factories. The team will also carry out a formal audit of conditions before approving a factory to make Primark products. Audits 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. Approved factories are then audited at least once a year as part of our monitoring programme.
If the audit discovers any non-compliances with the Code, we provide the factory with an action plan to resolve the issues identified. We know many workers depend on Primark’s suppliers for their living. That’s why our preference is to work with suppliers and their factories so they can make any changes required. But, if we find anything critical, we are not afraid to take swift action. We’ll stop placing new orders until we’re happy the changes have been 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 People and Production to find out more about our work with suppliers and their factories.
At Primark we do not own factories and are very selective about who we will and won’t work with. We require anyone 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 is a robust set of requirements which covers areas such as pay, employment policies and health and safety. 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 we place our first order, a member of Primark’s Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Team on the ground in key sourcing countries meets with the factory to explain the standards we require and to carry out a formal audit. Audits help us to assess a factory’s performance against the Code of Conduct. In the case of new suppliers and their factories, an audit allows us to be confident that the conditions in the factory are acceptable before approval. We then go back at least once a year to check whether our standards are being met.
If we find any non-compliances with the Code, we provide the factory with support and guidance to improve. Each factory is issued with a Corrective Action Plan to resolve any issues. 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 anything critical we are not afraid to take swift action. In the most extreme cases, we’ll stop working with a supplier altogether if they do not show commitment to meet our standards.
Visit People and Production to find out more.
We strictly prohibit the use of child labour in the manufacturing of our products. This is 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). The Code is a strict set of requirements that suppliers and factories must follow, including pay, employment policies and health and safety. To make it onto Primark’s approved factory list, each factory is vetted against the Primark Code of Conduct. This also includes checking that workers meet the minimum age requirements set out in the Primark Code of Conduct. Factories are then audited at least once a year. Audits allow us to get a detailed picture of what conditions are like inside both new and approved factories. They’re vital in allowing us to check whether internationally-recognised standards are being met.
We also work with local and international experts to help us understand where the child labour risks are in international supply chains. With their support we are able to address this important issue and educate suppliers, workers and communities on the importance of education for children. This is something we have built into existing programmes such as SAVE – a programme we run in southern India where we have brought local people together to form Worker Education Groups to discuss issues that matter to them in the workplace and beyond.
We strictly prohibit the use of forced and trafficked labour in the manufacturing of our products. This is set out in the Primark Code of Conduct – a strict set of requirements that every supplier and factory must commit to as a condition of doing business with us. The Code of Conduct is based on internationally-recognised standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), in turn based on those of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
We audit each and every factory against the Code before placing our first order and at least once a year after that. In the case of new suppliers and their factories, an audit allows us to be confident that the conditions in the factory are acceptable before we approve a factory for use.
You can read our statement on the Modern Slavery Act here.
At Primark we continue to remember the people who died in the Rana Plaza building. Immediately after the disaster we worked with local partners in Bangladesh to give financial support and food aid to the victims and their families. At the time, we also committed to providing long-term compensation. In total Primark has paid $14m in aid and in both short and long-term compensation to the victims and their families of Primark supplier, New Wave Bottoms. We continue to monitor the welfare of the most vulnerable victims with long-term injuries or loss of earnings, who are connected to Primark’s supplier New Wave Bottoms.
In 2015, we launched the Pashe Achi project. The project aims to improve the capabilities and self-confidence of the most vulnerable recipients so that they are able to retain access to, and control of, their financial compensation to support their well-being. We have also been part of the industry's response tomake garment manufacturing in Bangladesh safer in future. Primark is a signatoryto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, an agreement between more than 200 apparel brands and retailers, international and local trade unions and NGOs working towards sustainable improvements to working conditions in the Bangladesh Garment Industry. The Accord introduced an inspection programme for building and fire safety that is being supported and enforced by all the Accord signatories.
We have also introduced our own programme of structural surveys in Bangladesh to assess the structural integrity of factories from which we source garments. All the factories in Bangladesh that supply Primark have been assessed, and any new factory must be assessed before we place the first order. The assessments have been conducted to the highest international standards by expert teams of structural and civil engineers from specialists engineering and architectural firms. We have also employed our own expert structural engineer to manage our Structural Integrity Programme.
No. Whilst we do not own factories ourselves we are very selective about who we work with. We only place orders with suppliers whose factories are committed to making our products in factories with good working conditions so that people are treated decently and paid a fair wage. We require every factory to sign up to the Primark Code of Conduct as a condition of doing business with us. The Code is based on standards set by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), which are in turn based on those of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The Code covers areas such as pay, employment policies and health and safety.
Before Primark places its first order, a member of Primark’s Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Team meets with the factory to explain the standards required and to carry out a formal audit of current factory conditions. We will only approve a factory if conditions are acceptable. Once audited and approved, a factory will be audited at least once a year after that.
If our audit discovers any non-compliances with the Code of Conduct, we provide the factory with an action plan to resolve the issues identified, which is signed off by the factory. Our preference is to work with suppliers and their factories so they can make the changes required based upon our findings. But, if we find anything critical, we are not afraid to take swift action. In the most extreme cases, we’ll stop working with a supplier altogether if they do not show commitment to meet our standards.
Visit People and Production to find out more about our work with suppliers and their factories.
As a large retailer with more than 325 stores in 11 countries, it is important to us that we reduce the environmental impact of our stores as much as possible. We have a number of systems in place. For example, in almost all of our stores we have a Building Management System which allows us to look at whether stores are being run efficiently. We’ve also established an Energy Reduction Group 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.
To keep costs down and reduce our environmental impact, we 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 also want to find a good home for any clothes that we don’t sell. Our stores across Europe have donated 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 K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers.
Visit the Planet page to find out more.
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. We have signed up to WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) which includes a set of industry-wide targets that we are working towards alongside a number of other retailers, brands and organisations. We submit the type and amount of raw materials used in our products to SCAP with the help of our suppliers. We also register the country of origin of the materials and fabrics used which means we can track where they’re being sourced from.
We want to go beyond tracing raw materials to ensure they are sustainably sourced. We’re starting with cotton. Cotton is one of the most important natural fibres used to make our products. Our long-term ambition is to ensure that all cotton used in our supply chain is sustainably sourced. In 2013 we teamed up with agricultural experts CottonConnect and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) to create the Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme. The programme trains female farmers in sustainable farming methods, so they can improve their livelihoods through increased income. The programme launched with 1,251 female farmers and has been a huge success. It has now been expanded to train a further 10,000 female farmers.
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.
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 not permitted to use in manufacturing 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 by 2020, and we report regularly on our progress.
We have partnered with sustainable supply chains experts Solidaridad and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on its Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) initiative in Bangladesh and its Better Mills Initiative in China. Both projects have delivered training to factory managers and invested in technologies to reduce water use and better manage the chemicals used in dyeing and washing. Both partnerships mean we can check that factories are not using restricted chemicals and are considering how to use water carefully, helping us to stay true to our commitments
No, 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 Cotton Connect and SEWA – the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India to introduce a new programme specifically designed to train and support female farmers to introduce 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 in 2016 we announced a six-year extension to support a futher 10,000 women.
Quality is a focus for us at Primark. We want customers to enjoy their Primark products, for clothes to be a good fit, wash and wear well, and become loved items that are worn or used at home time and time again.
We have a robust quality assurance process in place that starts with product design and development, and goes right through our production processes, from factory to store. This helps us ensure Primark’s products are fit for purpose, are made to last, and comply with regulations and standards.
Of course, we are disappointed if we hear that an item from Primark hasn’t met expectations and we make sure we learn from this.