Koton Champions Environmental Initiatives at COP28 in Dubai

Koton, a vanguard in the fashion industry, marked its presence at the COP28 conference in Dubai. The panel was attended by key figures such as Yılmaz Yılmaz, Chairman of Koton; Şahika Ercümen, advocating for Koton’s Respect for Water Collection; Anthony Leiserowitz from Yale University; and Burak Kuyan, CEO of Galata Wind Energy.

Koton, a prominent name in Türkiye’s fashion landscape, continues its commitment to gender equality and sustainability.

At the “Story of Us” panel during COP28, Yılmaz Yılmaz, Chairman of Koton, spoke about the brand’s sustainable initiatives, “Our ‘Respect for Life’ sustainability manifesto, introduced in 2020, focuses on four major aspects: Respect for Our World, Society, People, and Business.

‘Respect for Our World’ is evident in our role as the first Turkish retail brand to endorse the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative. By 2025, our aim is to increase our sustainable product proportion from 25% in 2022 to 50%, resulting in substantial environmental savings. This will help save around 8 million cubic meters of water, reduce chemical drug use by 5 tons, and increase cotton production by approximately 1100 tons, enough for about 4 million additional T-shirts,” he explained.

“72% OF OUR EMPLOYEES ARE WOMEN”

Yılmaz continued, “The ‘Respect for Society’ component is illustrated by our ‘Handmade’ Collection, started in 2016. This project employs women in Southeastern Anatolia for embroidery work, benefiting 6,000 women in disadvantaged areas.

‘Respect for People’ is about creating an equal, inclusive, and diverse workplace. Approximately 72% of our employees and 54% of our managers at Koton Group are women, emphasizing our focus on empowering women in all life spheres. Our commitment to being a women-friendly company is reinforced by our adherence to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and our recognition as a Great Place To Work in 2023.”

“SUSTAINABILITY AS A KEY GOAL FOR TÜRKİYE”

“Sustainability is a dual-edged sword of challenge and opportunity for Türkiye. Our proximity to Europe and our advanced production capabilities offer us a competitive edge. Our aim is to raise the sustainable product ratio in our total assortment by 2024. By 2026, we plan to halve the use of single-use plastics, increase recycled packaging usage by 50%, and enhance our sustainable product range. We managed a 22% decrease in plastic waste in 2022 compared to the previous year, and since the second half of 2023, we have discontinued the use of plastic bags in our stores across Türkiye,” Yılmaz stated.

“THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT AT COP28”

Reflecting on COP28, Yılmaz Yılmaz commented, “The involvement of the business sector is essential at such international summits. Companies play a crucial role in shaping environmental strategies. The scope of COP is continuously growing, attracting more participation from the private sector, governments, and individual stakeholders. This increased engagement is crucial in influencing the decisions and outcomes of the summit.”

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