Turkey’s Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association has teamed up with the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) to launch a sustainability plan they hope will boost export market share by reducing environmental impact on production.

Through the Sustainability Action Plan, the two industry associations are aiming to provide a “permanent transformation” and comply with the European Green Agreement norms at a high level.

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TİM chairman İsmail Gülle said: “I invite all our industrialists, manufacturers, suppliers, and exporters to a production approach that prioritizes nature and the environment. 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 textile sector, which exported an all-time high of US$6.2bn in the first half of the year, has moved to become a pioneer in sustainability. Within the scope of the plan, the textile sector will take concrete steps on a number of issues such as wastewater recovery, reducing the energy consumption of the sector, and recycling.

“In recent weeks, within the scope of the Sustainability Action Plan consisting of 12 main items, we have announced the message “We produce for the world without consuming the world” and we have encountered a lot of interest,” continued Gülle. “One of the goals we have announced is to create sectoral action plans. Today, in textiles, which is our leading sector, I am very happy to see the first response of this step and congratulate our sector on this visionary move. Hopefully, this move, led by our textile sector, will encourage all our exporter sectors and our sectoral roadmaps will be completed as soon as possible.

“Our Sustainability in Industry Science board will take a critical responsibility in the green transformation process by guiding our sectors in determining and implementing sustainable policies in the industry. By fulfilling the objectives in our action plan, one by one we will make Turkey a brand country in the sustainability field.”

Speaking at the launch of the Action Plan, Ahmet Öksüz, chairman of the board of the İstanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Association (İTHİB), said the Turkish textile sector is the fifth largest exporter in the world and the second-largest exporter of the EU, and that the sector must write new success stories to further increase the global forces of the sector in today’s rapidly increasing competitiveness.

“With the ‘Textile Sector Sustainability Action Plan’, we aim to spread sustainability to the base in our sector by carrying out concrete projects in cooperation with our ministries on many issues and to be a pioneer in this regard as well as being a pioneer in exports. We should see the phenomenon of sustainability as a transformation process, not a risk, and consider it an opportunity.”

He added that the 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 our Ministry of Commerce in a way that does not disturb the domestic market dynamics.”