Primark joins German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

18 March 2016

Irish fashion retailer PRIMARK today joined the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien or short Textilbündnis) further underlining its long standing commitment towards achieving social, environmental and economic improvements throughout the textile supply chain, a goal shared with the Textilbündnis.

The multi-stakeholder initiative, comprising textile and clothing industry, retailers, trade unions and civil society, pools the strength and expertise of its members in order to bring about social, environmental and economic improvements along the textile supply chain.

Paul Lister, who is responsible for Primark’s Ethical Trade Team and CSR at Associated British Foods plc (ABF), Primark’s parent company said, “Primark has been working hard for the last decade to ensure that the rights of workers within our global supply chain are respected and the lives of people working within the garment industry in emerging markets markedly improve, as industrialisation brings new jobs and opportunities. As part of this work we have collaborated with many organisations, including the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), with whom we have worked for more than five years in Bangladesh. For us, it is a logical next step to join theTextilbündnis and we look forward to actively participating in the working groups.”

Wolfgang Krogmann, Primark Director General Germany & Austria said, “We are very excited about joining the Textilbündnis. This is a very important initiative and we are looking forward to playing an active role in this organisation for sustainable economy, and to sharing experiences, learning from each other and implementing best practice.”

Primark is an active supporter of alliances to improve the working conditions in the textile industry. Primark has been a member of the Ethical Trading initiative since 2006, and has been classed a ‘Leader’ since 2011, placing the company among the top 5% of ETI member brands. It is also an active in a number of other international initiatives such as ACT (Action Collaboration Transformation), an initiative between international brands and retailers, manufacturers and trade unions to address the issue of living wages in the textile and garment supply chain. Since 2010 Primark has also been a member of Better Work, a partnership programme between International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), providing training, audits and remediation for suppliers in Vietnam and Cambodia. Primark was also among the first retailers to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Building & Fire Safety whose members are working towards sustainable improvements to working conditions in the Bangladesh Garment Industry.

Notes to Editors

PRIMARK, a subsidiary of ABF, was first established in Dublin in 1969 and currently has 299 stores in ten countries: the UK, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France and the US; and has approximately 60,000 permanent employees. Primark’s first US store opened in September 2015 and the first store in Italy is expected to open in Spring 2016.

Primark targets young, fashion-conscious under 35’s, offering high quality commercial fashion at value for money prices. People are often surprised at how Primark achieves its “Amazing Fashion, Amazing Prices”, but from the raw materials it sources, to the way it organizes its stores, Primark’s business is based on doing some simple things very differently from other retailers, which is how it keeps its prices so low. Primark do almost no advertising, have a much lower margin than many competitors, and make savings by buying in large quantities. In fact, 98% of its suppliers’ factories also work for other brands, from smaller retailers to luxury brands. Primark’s suppliers’ employees receive the same compensation irrespective of the brand they work for.

Like almost every other fashion retailer on the high street, Primark clothes are made in countries including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and China. Primark has a strict code of conduct in place designed to ensure that the factories it works with respect the rights of their workforce. The Primark ethical trading team is made up of more than 60 individuals, including a senior executive in Germany who will be leading Primark’s contribution to the Textilbündnis. The team work across Primark’s supply chain to ensure Primark’s standards are met. As well as carrying out more than 2000 audits every year to check that workers are being treated properly.

In Germany they have stores in Bremen, Frankfurt (2), Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Hannover, Saarbrücken, Essen, Berlin (2), Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf, Köln, Stuttgart, Krefeld, Dresden, Kaiserslautern, Braunschweig and Weiterstadt.

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