Denim isn’t renowned for its sustainable characteristics, but that doesn’t mean a sense of stewardship toward the environment is incompatible with building a denim brand.
Case in point: Calik Denim, the 30-year-old Turkish mill that’s made a name on manufacturing practices that reduce its negative impact on the environment. Earlier this month, Calik Denim became a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which means its sustainability strategy will be built to exacting, international standards. The brand’s financial affairs director, Aysun Şengür, signed the compact at the Global Compact 7th Ordinary Assembly in Istanbul.
The UNGC dictates universal principles tactics for corporate responsibility across sectors, in an effort to establish a collaborative, problem-solving culture in the business world. Calik Denim will adjust and reaffirm its sustainability guidelines to meet the 10 principles of the UNGC, extending protections in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Members of the UNGC intend to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
It’s clear why Calik Denim has positioned itself as a leader in the ongoing battle for sustainable textiles. The company’s self-described outlook, “Passion for Denim, Passion for Life,” is reflected in its actions. Signing the UNGC is one example, as is the series of seminars, Ever Evolving Talks, the company launched in Amsterdam last year. The mill partnered with Parsons School of Design to develop a fall semester course, “Fashion Materiality,” which will highlight denim history, construction and wash development. Calik also published its first sustainability report in 2018, which acts as a transparent record of the company’s environmental and societal impact, as well as long-term sustainability goals.
A number of other material and apparel brands have also joined the United Nations in a number of sustainability initiatives,, including Archroma, PVH Corp., Deckers Brands and The RealReal. In total, the UNGC has more than 13,500 participants.