During a Green Transformation Summit hosted by the Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (IHKIB), the organisation’s president Mustafa Gültepe revealed Türkiye has reached the implementation phase in 13 of the 40 actions mapped out in its green transformation roadmap in line with the EU Green Deal last year.

The hope is that this will aid the country’s “path of $40bn of exports in apparel” which “passes through European and US markets.”

Türkiye’s quest to double apparel exports using green transformation

He highlighted that Türkiye already makes up approximately 3.5% of world apparel exports and said: “As IHKIB, we aim to increase our current annual exports, which are around $20bn, to $40bn. The road to the goal goes through Europe and America because the European Union is our largest market in apparel. We export 60% of our total apparel exports to EU countries.”

He also pointed out that when other European countries and the US is included, the ratio approaches 75%.

IHKIB explained Türkiye already has longstanding collaborations with brands centred in Europe and the US and benefits from speed, production quality, knowledge, design and geographical proximity to Europe in particular.

The country also boasts being one of the only ones where all components from fibre to the final product are offered within the country with IHKIB adding: “We know that we need to add sustainability to our existing advantages.”

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He shared that IHKIB believes Türkiye can turn the Green Transformation process into an opportunity with the “partnership chain approach”.

He stated: “We want to be an indispensable part of the partnership chain rather than just being a link in the supply chain. This is where the criteria of compliance,
competitiveness and sustainability come to the fore. We need to be compliant and
appropriate in environmental, social and managerial terms, competitive in terms of price performance, and complete sustainability compliance.

“Of course, quality has a value and value has a cost. For this reason, we think that the global brands we have been working with for years should not only look at the matter from a price-focused perspective. Just like in production, we should be able to base our collaborations on a sustainable ground.”

The opening meeting of the summit was attended by IHKIB and the Türkiye Exporters Assembly (TIM) along with representatives of relevant ministries and foreign representations, national and international fund providers, as well as brands and buying groups.

The IHKIB’s introductory speech was followed by Euratex director general Dirk Vantyghem, deputy director general of the ministry of trade Bahar Güçlü, and deputy secretary general of ITKIB Özlem Güneş sharing presentations regarding the ongoing efforts in the Green Deal process.

Vantyghem discussed the sustainability strategy of the textile and apparel industry and the expectations from the EU administration. At the same time, Güçlü provided information about the reflections of legal regulations related to the Green Deal on Türkiye.

Deputy Secretary General of ITKIB Özlem Güneş emphasised the significant opportunity the Green Deal represents for the Turkish apparel industry, providing insights into the efforts conducted by IHKIB regarding the Green Deal adaptation process.

Earlier this month (8 January) industry experts urged fashion brands to focus on sustainable collaboration with Türkiye as opposed to price after it had raised its minimum wage by 49% in a bid to offset inflation.