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Turkish textile industry will be a pioneer in sustainability

The “Turkish Textile Industry Sustainability Action Plan”, prepared by the Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Associations, under the leadership of the Turkish Exporters Assembly, was announced.

According to the plan announced at the meeting held at the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel, the Turkish textile industry aims to increase its market share in global exports even more by providing a permanent transformation and to comply with the European Green Agreement norms at a high level.

The textile industry, which realizes the highest export of all time with an export of $6.2 billion in the first half of the year and is the fifth largest exporter in the world, will take concrete steps in many important issues such as recycling wastewater, reducing the energy consumption of the sector, and recycling within the scope of the plan.

TIM President Ismail Gulle, who made the opening speech of the meeting, said, “We announced the message ‘We produce for the world, without consuming the world’ within the scope of the Sustainability Action Plan, which consists of 12 main articles, and we received a great deal of attention. One of the goals we have announced is to create sectoral action plans. I am very happy to see the first response of this step in textile, which is our leading industry today, and I congratulate our industry on this visionary move. This move, led by our textile industry, will encourage all our exporting sectors and our sectoral roadmaps will be completed as soon as possible.”

Gulle stated that the TIM Industry Sustainability Science Board will take a critical responsibility in the green transformation process by guiding the sectors in the determination and implementation of sustainable policies in the industry, and said:

“We are commissioning the Green Line within ALO TIM. Our companies will receive answers to questions about green transformation on a sectoral basis from our expert teams under the roof of TIM and the Union. It is always more difficult to be a pioneer, to be the first in a field. Our textile and raw materials sector has become the first sector to take action within the framework of our sustainability action plan with a great vision. We will make Turkey a brand country in the field of sustainability by realizing the goals in our action plan one by one. I invite all our industrialists, producers, suppliers and exporters to a production approach that prioritizes nature and the environment. Let’s renew the old infrastructure of our factories, separate the infrastructure of washing and dyeing water, recycle the washing water, expand the technologies that use less water in washing and dyeing, and reduce the share of fossil fuels in production as much as possible. The greatest legacy we will leave to our children and future generations is a clean world and a clean atmosphere. This is our duty.”

“We should see sustainability as an opportunity, not a risk”

Ahmet Oksuz, Chairman of the Board of Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association (ITHIB), reminded that the Turkish textile industry is the 5th largest exporter in the world and the 2nd largest exporter in the EU, said that in today’s rapidly increasing competitiveness, the industry has to write new success stories in order to increase its global powers.

Noting that they have expectations from the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture and Forestry, Oksuz said, “These goals can only be achieved with the common vision of public-sector cooperation. We are working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to increase cotton premium difference support and increase production areas in order to further encourage organic cotton production. We are taking initiatives with the Ministry of Commerce to create a separate support mechanism for our sector on sustainability policies. The difficulty in importing recycled textile products as raw materials does not match our industry’s approach. Within the framework of our industry’s zero-waste approach and sustainability vision, the import of used clothing products for recycling should be facilitated by the supervision and control of our Ministry of Commerce in a way that does not disrupt the dynamics of the domestic market.”

Ahmet Fikret Kileci, President of the Southeast Anatolian Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association, stated that the action plan will accelerate the harmonization process of the sector with the European Green Agreement and increase its market share in global trade. “Our exporting sectors such as textiles, which use electricity intensively in the production process, have the risk of being caught in the carbon barrier in EU exports. The decarbonization of these sectors is of great importance in terms of maintaining the level of international competition. Therefore, Turkey needs to switch to a low-carbon production model as soon as possible and shape its economy within this framework. In particular, it should be noted that this transformation should not be seen as an obligation, but as an opportunity for sustainable development.”

Reminding that important opportunities can be created in the technology and finance sector, which will be strengthened with the decarbonization process in production, Kileci said, “R&D and innovation activities in this field can be accelerated by taking advantage of the funding opportunity to be given within the framework of the European Green Agreement. As producers and exporters, we are the main actors in the realization of this sustainable order. Due to our high efficiency in the field, the road map to be created within the framework of the action plan will come to life with our exporters.”

“Environmentally sensitive sustainable production is not a choice but a necessity”

TIM Sectors Council Textile and Raw Materials Sector Head Zeki Kivanc stated that a very important breakthrough has been made in order to raise awareness of sustainability in Turkey and to lay the groundwork for future practices, “Our industry is one of the largest and most important industries in the world in terms of production and workforce. There is no doubt that it will continue to maintain its importance for human life in the future with its constantly developing functions and increasingly different usage areas.”

“A sustainable world is one of the most important priorities of the next period. Today, not only the USA and the EU, but also almost all of the world are in preparation for an all-out struggle against the negative effects of climate change. Issues such as the circular economy, resource efficiency, digital transformation, and carbon footprint will be among the topics we will talk about the most in the upcoming period. Environmentally friendly sustainable production is not a choice but a necessity for Turkey and our world. This plan is of great importance in order to develop the technical capacity and raise awareness of the cleaner production method and benefits of the Turkish industry. The plan we have prepared in order to maintain our competitiveness and to create more and long-term added value is very important.”

“A Sustainability Platform will be created”

TIM Women’s Council Vice President and Textile Sector Sustainability Committee Chairman Sultan Tepe also said, “A Sustainability Platform will be established to implement the Textile Sector Sustainability Action Plan. Subcommittees will be established within the platform. It will be ensured that sustainable raw material initiatives and R&D studies are carried out in terms of raw materials and products, and incentive studies will be carried out for the use of certified materials in production and the development of these resources. Efforts will be made to further encourage organic cotton production. In the title of sustainable supply chain management, projects will be developed with international stakeholders in order to support traceability and facilitate transparency in the textile supply chain.”

Tepe emphasized:

“Within the scope of circularity, cooperation with local governments and brands will be planned within the scope of collection, separation, recovery and recycling of textile wastes. Initiatives will be initiated for the implementation of the Textile Recycling Center Project. With climate studies, scientific carbon footprint measurement and reporting and pilot applications will be implemented in institutions. A roadmap to reduce carbon emissions will be prepared. Attempts will be made to create financial resources to minimize water and energy consumption in paint shops and other businesses. Finally, under the heading of corporate social responsibility, projects will be developed to minimize occupational health and safety risks and to increase the employment rate of female employees.”

Fatih Bilici, Vice Chairman of İTHİB Board of Directors, stated that the Turkish textile industry will continue to make one of the most important contributions to the Turkish brand, exports and added value with its sustainability action plan.

Source: AA / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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