Orbit Consulting Co-Founder Emir Öztürk declares: ‘‘In the coming years, sustainability will evolve into an indispensable necessity rather than a luxury. In this transformation, those who position themselves correctly will be more beneficial while the rest will, unfortunately, be less preferred.’’
The textile sector, which meets our needs in many different fields from the clothes we wear to our household goods, is one of the largest and most developed industries in the world. Therefore, it raises great concern about the use of natural resources and waste management during the production and consumption stages. The concept of sustainable textile has come to the forefront in recent years both in terms of continuing to meet the needs of humanity and in the proper use of world resources. Textile companies, which take initiatives in terms of using fewer chemicals, less energy, water and/or carbon, are trying to meet the needs of the consumers.
Although the number of companies that have drawn a road map on ‘sustainability’ has increased significantly day by day, there are companies that do not know which steps to take in this regard.
Orbit Consulting, in this context, is a consulting company established to support and companion the sustainability transformation of the textile sector.
We interviewed Emir Öztürk, co-founder of Orbit Consulting for our Textile Technology magazine and talked about their projects.
First of all, can you please tell us the story of founding Orbit Consulting and its philosophy in your own words?
As a matter of fact, Orbit Consulting is a company established by the founding partners who decided to share their sustainability initiatives, which were realized at the textile companies, and background knowledge with the textile industry. The purpose of this organization is to provide support and companionship to the textile sector regarding sustainability transformation. This story, which started as a sustainability initiative, emerged as an independent company, which is Orbit Consulting.
Sustainability is the main focus of Orbit Consulting among many other important subjects. What can you say about the importance of sustainability for the textile sector?
Sustainability is a very important issue for the textile sector. In the coming years, sustainability will evolve into an indispensable necessity rather than a luxury. This will be a transformation that will be carried out with the support, wishes, and choices of end-users, manufacturers, and brands. In this transformation, those who position themselves correctly will be more beneficial while the rest will, unfortunately, be less preferred. Therefore, we can confidently say that sustainability is one of the key issues regarding the future of the Turkish textile sector.
You set out with the objective of providing sustainability consultancy to the companies operating in the textile industry. Can you provide information about your roadmap and projects to be followed in this context?
We primarily listen to and understand the needs of our customers. In order to understand this, we have a rating survey and content with our services. Then, together with the customer, we prepare a roadmap for their requirements and needs and determine the sustainability transformation and service list to be received. At this point, the necessities of the customer can be transformation and progression within their own company and/or the need for branding in representation and sustainability and communication on the accurate platforms throughout the world. Accordingly, we work together with the customer as one of their team to provide service. In addition, as you know, we organized an event called ”Sustainability Talks”. This is one of our more important projects. This seminar, which hosted approximately 600 participants, 25 speakers and lasted throughout the day, excited us very much and we consider it was really instructive for the participants. Moreover, we had the opportunity to speak at the international events and we strive to provide accurate information about sustainability initiatives in these organizations.
Can you please tell us about the criteria that the textile companies around the world have set for sustainable production and the works they have done for this purpose?
Of course, sustainability is generally gathered under 3 main headings; as raw material, production and social compliance. Around the globe, every brand, manufacturer, and organization has initiatives in one or more of these 3 titles. Companies set 2025 targets in terms of using fully sustainable raw materials or reducing water consumption and energy consumption to a certain extent. Or the producers are sharing their advertisements, innovative initiatives and the results of the new techniques in this area by strengthening their communication channels. These may be less chemical, less energy, water and/or carbon usage. In such areas, these initiatives are currently providing organizations with an advantage in terms of sustainability and enabling organizations to come to the forefront.
If you assess textile firms in Turkey within the scope of work you have done so far, what kind of steps are they taking in order to achieve sustainability? What are the shortcomings of the companies?
There are very important initiatives in Turkey. Our country is far ahead in terms of suppliers, apparel manufacturers, and design. In this way, customers do not need to travel around for thousands of kilometers, they can acquire everything that they need in Turkey and leave in content and satisfaction. Our country is far ahead in terms of social compliance. Companies can provide greater added value in this field through making their communication correctly.
Are there any Turkish textile companies that transitioned to sustainability and integrated their business in the best way? Can you please give an example?
Of course, there are, for example, some of the most prominent manufacturers in the world are located in various cities around the country. Istanbul is, of course, the heart of these initiatives. We have very important companies as players in the sector.
What do you say about the economic benefits of sustainable production to companies? Do you have any figures or reports regarding these advantages?
Sustainable production is, first and foremost, something that companies need to do for themselves because it will be a necessity in the world of tomorrow, and unfortunately, those who do not direct their investments, human resources and initiatives to this direction will suffer in the future.
According to the report ”McKinsey & Company – Is apparel textile coming home?” published in 2018; In Europe and North America, 78% of consumers say sustainability plays a key role in their purchases. This role will become increasingly important and will have a concrete impact on consumption patterns. Other than that, today the textile industry is, unfortunately, under a lot of pressure due to being seen as an influence of global warming and similar issues. These data point out that those companies who make a breakthrough will be rewarded and those who do not will be left behind.
Lastly, do you have anything else you want to add?
Last but not least, we observe and anticipate that economic, environmental and social aspects now intersect in this new method of doing business across all sectors and that organizations that create value in all three aspects will be commercially successful. Therefore, intersecting these aspects and proceeding in this direction seems to be a necessity for every company.
Interview: Dilek HAYIRLI