LONDON - Fashion retailer Primark, which recently announced a five-fold increase in its sustainable cotton programme, claims it can now trace its cotton from farmer’s field to the garments in its stores.

Industry experts have long maintained it is not possible to track cotton further back than the ginning stage where cotton picked from many farmers' fields goes in at one end and comes out in mixed bales at the other.

This was why the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) introduced its 'mass balance' system in which brands pay farmers to grow a set amount of cotton more sustainably and then collect an equivalent amount of cotton – with no guarantee that any of it is the same cotton – after ginning and spinning.

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