Under the leadership of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), the ‘Turkish Textile Industry Sustainability Action Plan’ was announced by the Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association (İTHİB). The Turkish textile industry aims to increase its market share in global exports even more by providing a permanent transformation with the action plan prepared to spread the ‘sustainable textile’ vision to the entire sector. They also aim at high-level compliance with the European Green Deal norms.
In the opening speech at the ‘Textile Industry Sustainability Action Plan’ meeting, TİM Chair İsmail Gülle invited all industrialists, manufacturers, suppliers and exporters to a production approach that prioritizes nature and the environment and called for the following; “Let us 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, 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 a duty we all share”.
Textile will be the leading sector within the scope of the Sustainability Action Plan
İsmail Gülle reminded that they had announced the message “We produce for the world without consuming the world” within the context of the Sustainability Action Plan, which consists of 12 main articles, and that they attracted great attention. Gülle; “Creating sectoral action plans is one of the goals we have announced. I am very happy to see the first response of this step in textile, our leading industry today, and I congratulate our industry on this visionary move. Hopefully, this move led by the textile industry will encourage all our exporting sectors and our sectoral roadmaps will be completed as soon as possible”.
According to Gülle’s statement, TİM Sustainability Science Board in Industry will assume a critical responsibility in the green transformation process by guiding the sectors in determining and implementing sustainable policies in the industry. Gülle also stated that they have commissioned the Green Line within ALO TİM.
A Sustainability Platform will be established
TİM Women’s Council Vice President and Textile Sector Sustainability Committee Chair, Sultan Tepe stated that a Sustainability Platform will be established to implement the action plan and explained the details of the Textile Sector Sustainability Action Plan as follows:
“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”.
Stating that 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 said; “Within the scope of circularity, cooperation studies will be planned with local governments and brands 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”.
A roadmap to reduce carbon emissions will be drawn
Tepe said that climate studies will enable scientific carbon footprint measurement and reporting and pilot practices in institutions to be put into practice, she continued her words as follows; “A roadmap to reduce carbon emissions will be prepared. Attempts will be made to create financial resources to minimize water and energy consumption in dyehouse 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”.
“Targets can only be achieved with public-private cooperation”
Chair of the Board of İTHİB Ahmet Öksüz, who took part as a speaker at the meeting, reminded that the Turkish textile industry is the 5th largest exporter in the world and the 2nd largest exporter of the EU and said; “We should see the phenomenon of sustainability as a transformation process, not a risk, and consider it an opportunity”. Öksüz expressed his expectations from the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture and Forestry as follows:
“These goals can only be achieved with the common vision of public-private cooperation. With our Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, we are working to increase cotton premium difference support and increase production areas to further promote organic cotton production. We are making initiatives with our Ministry of Commerce to establish a separate support mechanism on the sustainability policies of our sector. The difficulty in importing recycled textile products with raw material quality does not match the approach of our sector. The import of clothing products used for recycling within the framework of our sector’s zero-waste approach and sustainability vision needs to be facilitated by the supervision and control of Ministry of Commerce in a way that does not disturb the domestic market dynamics”.
“Sustainable production is not a choice but a necessity”
Head of Textiles and Raw Materials Sector of TİM Sectors Council, Zeki Kıvanç emphasized that sustainable world will be one of the most important priorities of the coming period. Saying that at this point, not only the United States and the European Union, but nearly all around the world are preparing an all-out fight against the negative effects of climate change, Kıvanç; “Environmentally sensitive sustainable production is not a choice but a necessity for Turkey and our world. The sustainability action plan we have prepared is very important in order to maintain our competitiveness and create more and long-term added value”.
“Exporting sectors such as textiles may be caught in the carbon barrier in EU exports”
President of the Southeast Anatolian Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association, Ahmet Fikret Kileci underlined that there is a risk that the exporter sectors, such as textiles, which use electricity intensively during the production process, will be caught in the carbon barrier in EU exports. Kileci stated that the decarbonization of these sectors is of great importance for Turkey to maintain its level of international competition.