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Marks & Spencer  embarks on second phase of sustainable cotton project

Marks & Spencer has announced plans for phase two of its ‘Better Cotton' project in Warangal, India which aims to deliver an extra 21,000 tonnes of ‘Better Cotton' fibre while improving the lives of cotton farmers and their families over the next three and a half years.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Marks & Spencer embarks on second phase of sustainable cotton project

Phase one of the project, which launched in 2009, looked at how cotton could be grown in a better way and achieved significant reductions in water and pesticide use as well increased profitability for over 6,000 farmers in the Andhra Pradesh region of India.

M&S has now committed to fund the project for a further three and a half years to extend the project to 20,000 farmers. It is a joint venture between M&S and WWF.

M&S said resuts from last year included 51% less water use, 81% less pesticide ‘active ingredient' use, and 53% less synthetic fertiliser use.

Cotton from the Warangal project will be used in a wide range of the retailer’s products later this year.

Mark Sumner, M&S' cotton specialist, said: “We said last year that we would deliver a Plan A quality to every M&S product by 2020. We're now on that journey and are already delivering products that are made with more sustainable cotton. Customers can shop at M&S with every confidence that we are taking a responsible approach to how cotton is sourced.

In addition to the work with farmers, phase two of the project will also look at the effect the project is having on the local water supply. This will give M&S and WWF an indication of whether or not the project is improving the availability of water for the local population and environment.

Last year, the project became one of the first programmes in the world to be approved for growing ‘Better Cotton' which verified by the BCI, Better Cotton Initiative.

M&S is a founder member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a non-profit organisation designed to promote cotton that is grown in a more sustainable way, reducing the impact on the environment and earning more money for cotton farmers.

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