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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Koton’s Contribution at UN Climate Change Conference COP28

Koton, a fashion industry leader, took part in the COP28 conference in Dubai. The panel featured notable attendees including Yılmaz Yılmaz, Koton’s Chairman; Şahika Ercümen, representing Koton’s Respect for Water Collection; Anthony Leiserowitz from Yale University; and Burak Kuyan, CEO of Galata Wind Energy.

Türkiye’s prestigious fashion brand Koton remains steadfast in its commitment to gender equality and sustainability.

Yılmaz Yılmaz, Chairman of Koton, speaking at the COP28’s “Story of Us” panel, outlined the brand’s sustainability initiatives. He shared, “In 2020, we launched our ‘Respect for Life’ sustainability manifesto, which is built on four fundamental principles: Respect for Our World, Society, People, and Business.

‘Respect for Our World’ includes us being the first Turkish retail brand to sign the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative in Türkiye. In 2022, approximately 25% of our products were produced from sustainable sources,” he said. 


Yılmaz further stated, “The ‘Respect for Society’ component is embodied by our ‘Handmade’ Collection, started in 2016. This initiative has provided work for 6,000 women in Southeastern Anatolia, favoring hand embroidery over cheaper machine embroidery.

‘Respect for People’ focuses on fostering an equal, inclusive, and diverse workplace. Approximately 72% of our employees at Koton Group are women, and 54% of our managers are women, underlining our dedication to empowering women in every aspect of life. We are signatories of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and were honored with the Great Place To Work certification in 2023.”


“Sustainability is both a challenge and an opportunity for Türkiye. Our proximity to Europe and advanced production capabilities are strategic advantages. We aim to increase the proportion of sustainable products in our total offerings by 2024. By 2026, we plan to reduce single-use plastics by 50%, increase our use of recycled packaging by 50%, and enhance our sustainable product range. We achieved a 22% reduction in plastic waste in 2022 compared to the previous year, and from mid-2023, we have eliminated the use of plastic bags in our stores in Türkiye,” Yılmaz elaborated.


Reflecting on COP28, Yılmaz Yılmaz commented, “The involvement of the private sector is crucial in such forums. Companies significantly influence environmental strategies. The scope of COP is expanding each year, with increased involvement from the private sector, governments, and individual stakeholders. This growing participation is integral in influencing the decisions and outcomes of the summit.”


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