First, can you tell us a little bit about Egedeniz Tekstil?
Egedeniz Tekstil is an organic cotton pioneer in Turkey and was the ﬁrst organic certiﬁed textile company in Turkey. Egedeniz Tekstil were founded in 1993. Our company specialized in organic cotton products, promoted growth in organic cotton agriculture and helped many brands all over the world with innovations throughout the entire supply chain. We have strived for new solutions and improvements for a better environment since our foundation.
What is your main focus at the moment?
After many covid-19 lockdowns around the world, most people were deprived of their usual way of life – and many learned how to live with it. They had time to value the environment, climate and sustainability. We have experienced growing demand from industry for sustainable products and are now focusing on increasing our capacities in organic and in-conversion cotton, searching for possibilities for regenerative agriculture as well as experimenting with Turkish hemp, looking at how to grow and process the ﬁber and produce yarns and fabrics. We are aiming to become carbon negative during the next years and will set achievable targets by the end of this year. We have planted 11,000 trees since 2009 and are aiming for more to reduce our carbon footprint.
What is your vision for the organic cotton sector?
At Egedeniz we have always had faith in organic cotton and its products predicting that over the years it would become mainstream rather than remaining a niche product. We are getting there, as many governments, leading brands and industry integrate sustainability into company policies and marketing strategies and consumers, especially the younger generation, support these actions. We are going to see demand increasing at a faster pace and the supply side will have to ﬁnd solutions to cope. We’ve already seen that second year in-conversion to organic cotton is in high demand, so perhaps we may even see ﬁrst year in-conversion organic cotton used in textile production, which is great way of promoting organic farming.
How have you incorporated climate action into your core strategy?
Our mission is to use 100% preferred ﬁber and materials in our production. We cooperate with our customers to minimize the carbon footprint of products by choosing the right material and design. Some examples of preferred ﬁbers and materials used in our production:
- Natural Fibres: Organic cotton / Recycled
- Manmade Cellulosic Fibers: Tencel
- Plant based Fibres: Local Hemp
- Synthetic Fibers: 100% re-cycled PES
40% of the energy consumed in Egedeniz is produced by solar panels. We partnered with a Bluesign approved factory and with their help we follow the principles of resource efﬁciency, water management, air emission reductions and work safety. We have a waste management system for recycling glass, paper, plastic, batteries and electronics etc.
How do you work to improve soil health?
Our organic farmers are experienced and versatile. They have practiced organic agriculture for many years, following crop rotation practices and green manure cropping in between for soil health. We are providing organic and natural fertilizers to stimulate plant growth and increase nutrient uptake and yield. These practices also improve soil health and increase microbiological activity, promote root development and increase water holding capacity.
How do your farmers ensure the efﬁcient use of water? Have you put any specific water conservation practices in place?
Our organic cotton farmers did not need to improve their water efficiency for many years. They are located in a region where they could get irrigation water easily from a nearby dam and also had rich underground reservoirs. However, with climate change, there have been less rains during the last few years and shortages of water caused them to evaluate our suggestions to build drip irrigation systems. This season local water management authorities announced allowances for water, so in order to solve their problems, we ﬁnanced part of their drip irrigation systems. We are planning to complete this process for all farmers during the next 3 years. If they receive extra subsidies from government, they will complete their systems sooner.