Textile and ready-to-wear fashion industry is one of the leading economic sectors in many countries. In Turkey it constitutes 25 percent of the manufacturing industry which makes it the most impactful one. Textile sector, which is currently the main source of income for the Turkish economy, causes a lot of environmental damage. Unfortunately, behind all the fashion industries pomp, lies the fact that it is the second most polluting sector in the world.
Another gloomy example is the discovery of the fact that the high fashion brand Burberry has burned approximately $ 37.8 million worth of unsold goods in 2018. With this information in mind, we should suggest that it is possible with a sustainable business model to both protect the sector and minimize the tremendous damage it causes.
Consumer growing demands and lack of awareness significantly affect the production chain. Fashion trends change frequently and consumers “quickly” fall into this fast fashion trend. Brands have made consumer demands their first target and have adopted the fast fashion trend. The fact that these demands are fulfilled in such quantities and cheaply in a short time causes capacity strain in all the economical areas and harm the understanding of sustainability.
Some brands have started activities on recycling and waste management. For example, Nike and Adidas producing shoes by recycling plastic waste is a good example of waste management. The fact that these famous brands with a high turnover around the world produce awareness projects by including the consumer, is a good role model for the circular economy and sustainable business model in the sector.
In 2019Turkish textile company Yünsa won H&M’s Sustainability Commitment Award. Yünsa General Manager Nuri Refik Düzgören stated that the main factors for receiving this award have been their implementation of sustainability in all business processes as the basic company principle. As well as their progress towards sustainability targets with their studies and projects on energy efficiency, environment and waste management .
Researches show, as the education level of individuals increase, their awareness about sustainability increases as well. In order to achieve high efficiency in a sustainable business model, not only companies but also consumers have a great responsibility. Producer and consumer should act simultaneously. In this way, transparency of brands, supporting local production, using long-lasting materials, reducing the use of chemicals and raising awareness through education for a clean future are essential for a sustainable business model. Although it seems difficult to achieve, sustainability equally in financial, environmental and social fields, it provides great returns to the sector and to nature in the long term.