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Marks & Spencer extends Warangal Cotton Project
Aug '11
Marks & Spencer (M&S) announces phase two of its 'Better Cotton' project in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, India which aims to deliver an extra 21,000 tonnes of 'Better Cotton' fibre and help improve the lives of 20,000 farmers and their families over the next three and a half years.

Phase one, 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 will now continue to fund the project for the next three and a half years to extend the project to 20,000 farmers. It is a joint venture between M&S and WWF. Results from last year include:
- 51 per cent less water use;
- 81 per cent less pesticide 'active ingredient' use;
- 53 per cent less synthetic fertiliser use.

Cotton from the Warangal project will be used in a wide range of M&S products across menswear, ladieswear, kidswear and homewear ranges later this year.

Mark Sumner, M&S' cotton specialist, says: “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.

“Phase two of Warangal is a significant investment for M&S and it brings with it a significant reduction in the impact cotton grown in Warangal has on the environment. It also helps to improve the health and safety of the farmers as well as making more money for them by improving how they manage their crop by reducing the costs of inputs such as pesticides and fertilisers.”

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' (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.

Marks and Spencer plc

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