GAGİAD President Koçer Spoke at the Sustainable Future in Textile Panel: "The Future of Textile Is Through Branding"
Cihan Koçer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gaziantep Young Business People (GAGİAD), spoke at the opening of the panel titled "Sustainable Future in Textiles" held at Gaziantep Chamber of Industry Vocational Training Center. Emphasizing that Gaziantep is a strong textile and export city, Koçer said, "Our Gaziantep city continues its determined march in the 100th anniversary of the Republic, with its textile experience from centuries ago to today, and weaves its success stories, stitch by stitch."
The present and future of the textile industry were discussed in the panel titled "Sustainable Future in Textile" organized by GAGİAD and Gaziantep Chamber of Industry. In the panel held at Gaziantep Chamber of Industry Vocational Training Center, many topics were discussed, from wearable technologies to sustainable fashion, from employee engagement and sustainable human resources practices to the transition process of the European Union Green Deal. The meeting, moderated by Istanbul Fashion Academy Trainings Coordinator Gülin Girişken, was attended by Fashion Designer Arzu Kaprol, who designs special clothes for Turkish scientists working in Antarctica, and LC Waikiki Corporate Academy, Professional Expertise Development Group Manager Dr. İbrahim Güneş, Orbit Consulting General Manager Didem Çakar and industry representatives attended.
“We must brand by focusing on sustainability”
Giving the opening speech of the panel, Cihan Koçer, Chairman of GAGİAD Board of Directors, stated that it is very meaningful and valuable to organize such a panel in Gaziantep, one of the most important production and export centers of Turkey, which is the 5th largest textile exporter in the world, and said:
“Our city of Gazi, which aims to continue its stable growth by focusing on production, employment, investment and export, continues its determined march in the 100th anniversary of the Republic with its textile experience from centuries ago and weaves its success stories, stitch by stitch. The fact that the textile industry ranks first with a 2022 percent share in the 10,5 billion dollar exports reached by our city in 36 is the clearest indicator of this progress and success. I think that both our country and our city have a strong competitive advantage in textile in terms of production capacity and quality, but we have difficulty competing with many countries, especially Asian countries, in terms of cost. "The thing that will get us out of this cycle and turn a development that can be seen as a threat into an opportunity is to center sustainability, branding, and taking our place in the future of the world with high technology and digitalization moves."
Koçer continued his words by stating that the sustainable future of the textile industry and our country's reaching the place it deserves in the world requires a paradigm shift.
“To exist and produce value in a world where new generation raw materials, innovative production solutions, carbon neutrality targets and circularity are at the center, now requires leaving familiar paradigms aside. At the point we have reached, a view on sustainability should be a necessity rather than an obligation. We should work not for laws and sanctions, but to add value to the world in economic, social and environmental terms. The textile industry, which was one of the first sectors to announce its sustainability action plan, should aim to first preserve and then increase its competitiveness by rapidly carrying out the implementation processes in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement and European Green Deal on a global level, and the Green Deal Action Plan and Medium Term Program on a national level. At this point; "With the awareness of the responsibility of our chambers, unions and GAGİAD, we will continue to play an active role in the transition of our sectors to the new order," he said.
“The transition to a circular economy will accelerate our adaptation to international standards.”
Ali Can Koçak, one of the hosts of the panel, Member of the Board of Directors of Gaziantep Chamber of Industry and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gaziantep Chamber of Industry Vocational Training Center (GSO-MEM), emphasized the importance of sustainability in terms of international competition in his speech and said, "It is necessary to realize green and digital transformation for a sustainable future in textiles." . For the transition, we closely follow both the international agenda and our state's practices and implement the necessary practices one by one. The "Circular on Cleaner Production Practices in the Textile Sector" published by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change with the aim of minimizing the negative effects of textile sector activities on the environment, preventing air and water pollution, and implementing clean production technologies to reduce water and energy consumption is final at this point. It is extremely important. Likewise, we should make preparations now for the Border Carbon Regulation Mechanism (SKDM), whose transition period began to be implemented as of October 1, within the framework of the European Green Deal, and we should quickly adapt to the process with all our sectors when it is fully implemented in 2026. These regulations are very important and necessary to maintain our competitiveness in production and exports. In order to prepare our industry for the future, we must follow innovations and focus on producing high added value based on fashion and design. I wholeheartedly believe that we can achieve this with technical textile, R&D, P&D and innovation studies.” he said.
“My job is human innovation design”
Fashion Designer Arzu Kaprol, the first speaker of the panel, said, “Actually, I have been working in the field of wearable technologies for 22 years. Since wearable technologies are a very new field in today's sense and do not attract enough media attention, people know me mostly for my projects in the defense industry, medical and wellness sectors. One of my most important projects in this field was to design the protective clothing of the Tübitak Antarctica science team. It was a proud work. I have been describing my profession as human innovation design, not fashion design, for about 2 years. "Actually, I think what we do is not to design fashion, but to design innovation," he said.
“Sustainability needs to be internalized as a culture”
Sharing information on creating a sustainable human resources strategy, LC Waikiki Corporate Academy, Professional Expertise Development Group Manager Dr. İbrahim Güneş said, “It is extremely important to manage human resources correctly in terms of sustainability. If we set out knowing how we should create our human resources for a sustainable organization and company performance and how this will benefit us, we can take stronger steps. The world and sectors are changing, and with this change, we see that business processes are becoming more technology-oriented. I think sustainability-oriented professions will emerge in the new era. Now in design processes; "Artificial intelligence, sustainability, ethical thinking, efficiency and innovation concepts will be at the center," he said.
Sustainability has changed the rules of business
The last speaker of the panel, Orbit Consulting General Manager Didem Çakar, shared current information about the European Union Green Deal processes and said:
“The European Union has changed the rules of the game with its sustainability-centered steps towards decarbonization. Now, all practices within the borders of the EU are being reorganized with the principles of green transformation, and the components of the union are trying to integrate into the new system. In this direction, various sectors have started to implement related practices, textile being one of them. After the EU Green Deal, it introduced a new legislation by publishing the 'Sustainable and Circular Textile Strategy'. There are important topics in this legislation that concern our sector and our producers. "Eco design, carbon footprint measurement and the 'Waste Framework Directive' are important practices that the textile industry should follow."