M&S increases sustainable cotton sourcing

21 November 2012

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21 November 2012 | Adam Leach

Marks & Spencer has increased the use of sustainably sourced cotton in its supply chain over the past year.

In a statement providing a progress update on sustainability strategy ‘Plan A’, the retailer revealed cotton sourced to the standards set by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is now used in 900 products. Over the past six months, the company has bought 4,000 tonnes of BCI cotton – which, among other attributes, is produced using fewer chemicals and at a lower costs to the farmer – and it intends to increase this to 15,000 tonnes over the next three years.

Mark Sumner, cotton expert at Marks & Spencer, said: “It’s an important part of our sourcing mix now and we want it to grow and grow. We’ve committed to source 25 per cent of our cotton from more sustainable sources by 2015. We need BCI cotton alongside Fairtrade, organic and recycled in our business so we can achieve this step-change in environmentally conscious cotton sourcing.”

The company also revealed that 35 per cent of the more-than one billion products it sells now possess a ‘Plan A’ attribute, which it defines as “an eco or ethical quality above the market norm”. It has pledged to reach 50 per cent by 2015 and for its entire product range to have at least one attribute by 2020.

It also announced it is to re-launch a sustainable suit designed by tailor Richard James. The materials used to produce the suit are all the most sustainable available, from buttons to lining. A limited run of 500 suits sold out online when it was first launched earlier in 2012.

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