Koton, a leading company in the ready-to-wear sector, participated in COP28 held in Dubai.
Yılmaz Yılmaz, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Koton, Şahika Ercümen, the celebrity representing Koton’s Respect for Water Collection, Anthony Leiserowitz, the Head of the Climate Change Communication Department at Yale University, and Burak Kuyan, the CEO of Galata Wind Energy, attended the panel.
Koton, one of Türkiye’s leading fashion brands, is actively involved in various initiatives related to gender equality and sustainability.
Yılmaz Yılmaz, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Koton, who strengthened the company’s sustainability efforts year by year and spoke at the “Story of Us” panel at COP28 this year, evaluated Koton’s sustainability efforts, and stated: “In 2020, we published our sustainability manifesto under the title ‘Respect for Life.’ This manifesto has 4 main components: Respect for Our World, Society, People, and Business.
‘Respect for Our World’ includes us being the first Turkish retail brand to sign the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative in Türkiye. In 2022, approximately 25% of our products were produced from sustainable sources, and we aim to increase the production percentage from Better Cotton to 50% by 2025. This is expected to result in approximately 8 million cubic meters of water savings, about 5 tons less use of chemical drugs, and an increase in efficiency to produce approximately 1100 tons more cotton by the end of 2025. This means being able to produce cotton for about 4 million more T-shirts,” he said.
“72% OF OUR EMPLOYEES ARE WOMEN”
Yılmaz continued, saying, “Under the title ‘Respect for Society,’ one of our cherished practices is our ‘Handmade’ Collection. With this project, which we started in 2016, we have tasks done by women in Southeastern Anatolia that could be done by embroidery machines, which would normally be cheaper to produce. This project lets us reach 6,000 women living in disadvantaged conditions so far.
‘Respect for People’ embraces an approach culture that is equal, inclusive, and values diversity. Approximately 72% of our employees at Koton Group are women, and 54% of our managers are women. Developing projects that support women’s initiatives in all aspects of life is one of our priorities. In line with our goal of being a women-friendly company, we are signatories of the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. We received the Great Place To Work certification in 2023.”
“SUSTAINABILITY IS A BIG CHALLENGE FOR TÜRKİYE”
“Sustainability is both a significant challenge and a great opportunity for Türkiye. The proximity to Europe and the advanced state of local production provide Türkiye with significant advantages. In our field, we aim to increase the share of sustainable products in total products by 2024. By 2026, we plan to reduce the single-use plastic ratio by 50%, increase the use of recycled packaging by 50%, and further increase our share of sustainable products. Accordingly, we achieved a 22% reduction in plastic waste in 2022 compared to the previous year. Starting from the second half of 2023, we discontinued the use of plastic bags in our stores in Türkiye,” he said.
“COMPANY PARTICIPATION IS IMPORTANT FOR COP28”
Yılmaz Yılmaz, also shared his impressions of COP28: “The participation of the private sector is crucial for these organizations because companies have a significant impact. Every year, the scope of COP is expanding; the private sector, countries, and individual participants are showing more interest. I believe that this interest has a decisive impact on the decisions made at the summit.”
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