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Investments and Likeminded Suppliers Prompt Calik Denim to Increase Sustainability Targets for 2025

As a denim company listed among the 200 companies with the highest export volume in Turkey, Calik Denim aims to strengthen its position in the global arena, sustainably. Part of this effort includes dedicating 2 percent of revenue to R&D and allocating more than half a million dollars to environmental spending in 2019—investments that are benefiting clients H&M, Zara, Diesel, Gap and Tommy and more and helping to move the needle for sustainable fashion.

Calik’s second-ever sustainability report shares how the Turkish denim mill conveys its motto, “passion for denim, passion for life,” in its work and sustainable strategy by providing added value to the denim industry, the environment and people. It does this by following three pillars: leading with innovative products, creating a positive impact for/with stakeholders and reducing its impact on the environment.

The hurdles that hinder global environmental and social change are plenty, but Fatih Doğan, Calik Denim CEO, said the challenges are also what motivate the company.

“Accordingly, we have redefined our approach to sustainability from a strategic point of view to adapt to such changing circumstances and pioneer sustainability within the industry,” Doğan stated in the report. “We aim to turn such risks into opportunities, manage the impact of denim on life, create positive value for and deliver benefits to our stakeholders.”

The recently released report, prepared in compliance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards “core” option, is part of Calik’s 2019 commitment to United Nations Global Compact, which encourages businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and report on their implementation.

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In it, the mill shares its economic, social, environmental and governance performance from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2019, and provides information about its contribution to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the targets it has for 2025.

Measure up

A new Transparency Monitoring System (TMS) installed in 2019 is measuring Calik’s inputs in production. TMS is an important tool for the mill to accurately measure the savings of two game-changing dyeing and wash alternatives that it plans to scale.

With its Denethic line of fabrics, Calik eliminates the need to wash jeans after sewing, therefore reducing its water usage 15-44 percent. The line includes denim fabrics that have the appearance of being traditionally washed, rinsed, and enzyme washed or bleached.

With D-Clear, Calik uses 40 percent less indigo dyeing and 83 percent less water during the treatment process, reducing the water consumption per meter of fabric manufactured by more than 5 liters and reducing the volume of the chemicals used per meter of fabric manufactured by 94 percent.

The technology is used in 10 percent of the current fall fabric collection, however, Calik plans to incrementally expand the use of D-Clear. The company target is to use D-Clear technology in 50 percent of indigo dyeing processes for the collections by 2020, 75 percent by 2023 and 100 percent by 2025.

Fiber first

Calik is steadily growing its use of cotton certified by Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), after becoming a member in 2013. According to the report, 20.1 percent of the cotton the mill purchased in 2019 was BCI, compared to 6.4 percent in 2017.

The new target is to increase the use of organic and recycled BCI cotton to 60 percent by 2025. In order to make this happen, Calik is relying on Enrich Cotton, its biggest supplier and a likeminded partner, to switch completely to BCI-certified products in 2020. Additionally, it will source cotton produced entirely in Turkey in 2021.

“Pioneering applications in farmer and financial modelling are realized by Enrich Cotton in order to promote the use of sustainable raw materials in production,” Calik stated in the report.

Waste not

With an estimated 150 million tons of clothing waste bound for incineration plants or landfills by 2050, Calik is chipping away at what it can do to reduce textile waste.

The company has Recycle and Oeko-Tex certificates, which are used as guidance for the company’s waste management processes, and contracts have been made with related waste disposal firms for hazardous waste and with recycling firms for other non-hazardous waste, the report stated. Additionally, the mill is working with İzmir Kâtip Çelebi University to develop insulation derived from cotton waste.

With new projects in the cards targeted to waste management, Calik aims to reduce the waste generated during production by 30 percent by 2025. As of 2019, the company has reached a 2 percent reduction in waste generation. In 2019, 100 percent of the hazardous waste generated during production was recycled. The company recycled 18 percent of non-hazardous waste and sent the remaining waste to landfills.