Altan, President IAF: War harms all, hoping for peace!


29 February 2024, Mumbai

Salil Chawla, DFU Publications Director Salil Chawla had the opportunity to interact at the Shahi Exports signing membership ceremony with the IAF at the Bharat Tex 2024 Expo with Cem Altan, President of the International Apparel Federation, also a manufacturer from Turkey.
Altan stated, introducing himself," I mainly work on jerseywear for the UK and US markets. And I also represent the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association and the Istanbul Apparel Exporters Association in Turkey.".
Q: Could you elucidate, throw some light on this MOU exactly?
Altan: Well, actually, this is not an MOU. This is a membership signature. Since I became president, I have tried to extend the existence of IF to big manufacturing groups. And in India, we already have association members like CMAI and, among others, the Apparel Exporters Association of India.
But we didn't have any corporate members. So we have been talking to Shahi Group because they are one of the biggest export companies from India. And they have also been following us closely for the last couple of years.
And we talked to them for the last three years, and finally they decided to join IF. And I'm very happy for that because we need strong voices for manufacturers to make themselves understood on the apparel platform.
As you know, we have a lot of people who are interested in apparel. So we had difficulties during the pandemic, and really, brands had failed, you know, compliance, compliance, financial compliance. A lot of companies didn't get paid, and a lot of cancellations happened.
And some of them changed their minds, and, you know, with the sport of social media. But we realized that there is really nothing to protect the suppliers and manufacturers against the brands. Because when brands want to work with you, they put in front of you a big contract that only covers their own interests. There is nothing for the manufacturers in that contract. So we prepared the white paper under the initiative of SDI, which is the Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative.
We have been working on this with GIZ from Germany. They are supporting us with the members of IF. The STTI project is now accepted by the OECD and the European Parliament. Our project and our requirements from the grants have been accepted, and they are now being considered by the EU Parliament.
So hopefully there will be some regulations soon to protect manufacturers. Also, we have problems with audit fatigue. As you know, every company that works with you wants an audit. So we have an audit, a social audit, a physical audit, and an environmental audit.
But each company you work with asks for different audits, but all the same things. They look at the same things, so nothing is different. So if you work with ten companies, you need to have ten different audits, but they are all the same.
And this is also an expensive process for grants, and it is also more time-consuming. When they come to the factory for an audit, it takes a lot of attention.
The other important thing is as you know, there are a lot of new legislations in the EU and the United States, and we have to really comply with these legislations, especially the Green Deal for the European Union, which is very important.
The decarbonization and carbon zero programs in 2000, 2030, 2040, and 2050 are zero carbon programs. Yeah, and also, a lot of countries now applying EPR, Expensive Produce Responsibility, and Extended Produce Responsibility, which is very important and there are a lot of responsibilities on suppliers as well as brands to recollect and recycle their products
We have to fulfill all all these requirements and if you don't, a lot of beauties will be on top of the suppliers, so this is important and also have to invest on green factories You know that using renewable energies, we recycle the water, use less water, and use less energy. We also adjust our own production carbon emissions. 
And there are a lot of things and a lot of challenges happening. And we have to really work hard to really improve our industry, make it greener, more productive, and more digitalized. And of course, traceability and transparency are very important because soon there will be a product passport, and consumers want to know where the fabric or fiber comes from and where garments are made. 
So in this passport, consumers will see everything, and that's why transparency and traceability are very important. So our business is hard business. And I hope that these wars are over, as all the supply countries. are affected by them.
Also, another problem we have now is the logistical problem because of the Red Sea. A lot of ships going through the Red Sea channel have to go through South Africa now. 
So that is also increasing the delivery times for the brands. So this way, they also realize how important it is to work with near hubs, closer hubs as well. Says IAF President," And this is where Turkey comes into big importance because Turkey is a safe haven for retailers, and now they have been away from Turkey for some time because of the prices. 

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