Mark Sumner, raw materials specialist at M&S
The rising price of cotton has been just one of the ingredients contributing to a cocktail of despair for retailers over the last 12 months, impacting on many fashion companies’ margins or resulting in higher prices for already-stretched consumers.
Value fashion retailer Primark and global high street clothing specialist H&M are among the businesses to have cited the significant hike in cotton costs as a reason for the slower sales growth detailed in recent trading announcements.
Trading has continued to flourish at Marks & Spencer (M&S) though under new CEO Marc Bolland, who said earlier this year that escalating raw material costs have had less of an impact on his business than they have on its market competitors which sell cheaper goods.
M&S is also committed to sourcing sustainable raw materials and yesterday announced that it has extended its ‘Better Cotton’ project in India, which aims to improve the cotton it uses when making its clothing products as well as enhance the lives of farmers working in Warangal, in the Andhra Pradesh of the country.
Having launched phase one of the initiative two years ago, M&S will now continue its work in India until 2015.
Raw materials expert at M&S Mark Sumner, who has been working on the project, told Retail Gazette: “Locally, we are trying to understand the complexity of the cotton industry and cotton agriculture.
“We want to see how we can work with the farmers to deliver a sustainable business model for them and a business model that works for us as well.
“Other retailers and those involved in sourcing cotton have a feel for what it is but until you actually meet the farmers and work with their co-operatives it is really difficult to understand what is going on.”
Cotton sourced from the Warangal project will be used in a wide range of M&S products available later this year across its menswear, ladieswear, childrenswear and homewear ranges, helping the retailer continue to grow its share of the competitive clothing market.
It comes after phase one of the initiative - a joint project with environmental group WWF - focused on decreasing the water and pesticide used in growing cotton, as well as helping 6,000 Indian farmers make more of a profit from their businesses.
Results from the initial two years of the Better Cotton scheme include significant reductions in the use of water, pesticide and synthetic fertiliser in the production of the material, and following this success M&S wants to extend the project to 20,000 farmers in the coming years.
“We have been able to work with the farmers and find a way that allows them to be more effective and efficient in what they are doing and help manage their yield using fewer resources,” Sumner explained.
“It is a really good example of how our eco and ethical improvement campaign Plan A is delivering sustainability but doing so from a business point of view.”
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Big corporations like M&S naturally will tend to mass produce and imitate and as they were to compete with market . They just cannot put people first clearly that trust among creative (INNATE) consumers who are eco-conscious ones will visit them .Do companies know they are willful ignorant of this knowledge.
While they meet the structure and organization driven mass 'one size for all' they have to cater to times call that less % chemical dyed is offered in a segment of the store .
This can put M&S to unique position in catering to the need along time . Farmers lots and co-operatives being institutes will suit volumes , Individual and small and medium operations tend more and more customized produces givers . This means some balance need be struck between the small operation and big corporation work together to meet organic natural dyed demand in the eco conscious circle of clients and customers .
If M&S thinks on the line we have the capacity to extend with out compromise on any , for both quality is quantity , meeting need of end user is more paying in the long run . In the previous times it was over head cost , now it can be performed in improved creative way with smart phone and online logistic service .
The small and big must adapt to times meed and make better use of communication facilities available now.
Any body can make the organic cotton work out end products and M&S and we can do happen to be better than all others it is a step and better true utilization of scarce sources . It is the right use of capacities of place like India and is traditional gift with abilities of people .This may be to some extent inward exploitation of mother nature a talent already exits need to be seen by mind eye .
Can M&S.see this , see this in the mind eye . Then we are here to discuss strategies if workable wounder is awaiting . This is natures gift of place and people . This is also natures sources, an improved one . All of us an and for the individual and to whole of humanity. Rest all is ending with slogan . N.J.Bond email@example.com
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