Like other fashion products, denim has a history of being harmful to human and environmental health. But, while other sectors of the industry evolved and improved, denim manufacturers made few changes. Now the climate is worsening every day, and our time to change course is shortening. The people behind Calik Denim understand this and are taking action to make their beloved denim industry more sustainable. Can this small Turkish company actually make a positive impact?
The denim industry has not been kind to the environment.
Freshwater use and freshwater pollution are two of the biggest issues plaguing the denim industry. Typically denim is made from cotton, a relatively water-intensive crop, but now it is common to find a synthetic-cotton mix making up your favorite jeans. While polyester and elastane's addition to denim reduced the need for cotton a bit, the new materials have also brought new environmental issues — microplastic pollution — into the picture. Unfortunately, even if low water-intensive organic cotton is used for denim, the dyeing process remains a concern. Responsible for the contamination of water sources and other natural areas, denim dyeing that can release carcinogenic amines is an environmental nightmare. Beyond water use and chemical pollution, the denim industry contributes to climate change, biodiversity loss, and other forms of environmental degradation.
Calik Denim is stepping up with their "passion for denim" and "passion for life" that leads the company in everything it does.
When the idea for Calik Denim first formed roughly three decades ago, doing everything with passion was the basis for all decisions. Now the denim producer not only operates with a passion for the denim industry but also with an awareness of the environmental impact every decision has. In the three collections currently being offered by Calik Denim, you can see the love for denim and life that the company's 'Mission' page clearly outlines. Central ideas for company operations include a commitment to sustainability, a desire to be innovative with solutions, and a promise to be transparent and consistent with every decision. These mission statements and proven follow-through resulted in over a dozen awards from Turkey-based and international groups.
Through a combination of sustainability goals, improved supply chain policy, and a sustainability committee's oversight, Calik Denim is working to give the denim industry a better reputation.
The denim producer has clearly outlined five areas that need special attention to make the company sustainable. The areas are environmental sustainability, sustainable raw material procurement, innovation and thought leadership, internal stakeholder rights, and external stakeholder rights. Under the environmental sustainability category, four specific targets are laid out with a deadline of 2025 to complete said targets.
* Reducing carbon emissions per unit production by 20%
* 100% increase in the power generated from renewable resources as compared to 2018
* Reducing water consumption per unit production by 30%
* Reducing wastes emerging from production processes by 30%
These targets seem achievable over the next five years, and they line up with other goals announced by denim industry leaders like Levi's and Boyish Jeans. Unlike other denim brands, though, Calik Denim is going beyond reducing their own environmental impact and ensuring that their suppliers meet the same values and standards thanks to Independent Assurance Reports. These supply chain audits are common practice, but Calik Denim makes them easily available to the public through its website, aligning with the company's promise to be transparent. If partners or consumers want even more proof that promises are being executed and targets met, they can rely on Calik Denim's Sustainability Committee. The twelve position committee includes managers for each of the five sustainability areas, sustainability committee members, and a sustainability committee chairman, all reporting to the company's general manager. Calik Denim has another half-dozen projects and divisions working on making the company and its products more sustainable. It all comes together to create a good business for the planet and the denim industry.
The Bottom Line:
Calik Denim is changing the denim industry for the better. The company is not only focused on good business practices, but it is also creating new materials and processes that will have a positive impact on the environment and the quality of our clothes. Calik Denim has been around for a while, but everything this company does shows it is looking to the future, where sustainability is paramount for a successful business to continue.