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ORTA Becomes the First Certified Denim Mill to Use GMO-Free Turkish Cotton

In its latest milestone to further drive sustainable, climate-positive cotton innovation within the denim industry, ORTA has been certified as the first denim mill to use locally sourced, sustainably farmed GMO-Free Turkish Cotton.

By partnering with the GMO-Free Turkish Cotton project, an initiative launched by the İzmir Commodity Exchange and the National Cotton Council of Turkey, ORTA strengthens its climate-conscious innovation goals, enabling more local sourcing aimed at significantly reducing carbon emissions.

This partnership expands ORTA’s Bluesky mission of using the most sustainable, climate-positive cotton fibers possible. ORTA is constantly searching for more eco-conscious, circular solutions that support sustainable farming and sustainable consumption.

The goal for better, natural and sustainable cotton is imperative today, especially given that cotton comprises an estimated 50 percent of all fabric produced worldwide. Alongside Greece and Spain, Turkey is a leading country in producing GMO-free cotton.

Denim made from GMO-Free Turkish cotton
Denim made from GMO-Free Turkish cotton ORTA

As the first denim mill to be certified to use GMO-Free Turkish Cotton, ORTA will include this eco-fiber in its extensive sustainable raw cotton procurement ecosystem. This ecosystem already includes Better Cotton, organic cotton (GOTS- and OCS-certified), recycled cotton (GRS-certified), Fair Trade-certified cotton and Regenagri-certified regenerative cotton, all currently blending in ORTA’s leading eco-modern fabrics.

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“Since early 2000, ORTA’s commitment to more sustainable cotton started with our use of organic cotton, and our commitment to support farmers. We are one of the founders of the Better Cotton system, and each year we strive to expand our responsible cotton use,” said Dr. Sedef Uncu Aki, who leads ORTA’s denim sales and marketing, product development, R&D, sustainability, planning and operations.

In 2021, ORTA achieved an eco-manufacturing feat, with 55 percent of its cotton used being organic, Better Cotton or pre-and post-consumer recycled.

“This new partnership with GMO-Free Turkish Cotton meets critical environmental and social compliances important to our Bluesky mission. It is truly exciting for us, as we can now source certified local fiber that covers a better practice than conventional systems due to non-GMO content,” Uncu Aki said. “It supports our Bluesky mission of climate justice and social justice, producing less carbon emissions with shorter, local transportation, while supporting local economic growth. The GMO-Free Turkish Cotton program eco-certifies its transparency and traceability, which is important to our leading denim brand partners and eco-conscious consumers.”

The local aspect of the GMO-Free Turkish Cotton project will be a key in meeting the rising demand for climate-conscious denim and the consumers who seek to shop from more sustainable brands. Globally, 85 percent of people indicated that they have shifted their purchase behavior towards being more sustainable in the past five years, according to a Global Sustainability Study conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners.

Collaborating with GMO-Free Turkish Cotton furthers ORTA’s commitment to sourcing the most eco-ethical and sustainable cotton fibers that uplift local communities—and strengthen the mill’s Bluesky mission towards a net-positive denim world.