The Fashion Industry Goes Green with Sustainable Agriculture

IZMIR, TURKEY — While efforts have focused on reducing waste, brands and designers are increasingly endorsing projects in regenerative agriculture to help reduce the emissions produced in the manufacture of classic textiles, such as cotton and wool.

In between rows of sprouting cotton crops, the dried-out stems of wheat and sugar beet carpet a stretch of farmland near Turkey’s Aegean coast, helping to lock in soil nutrients and moisture — even in the scorching heat.

In nearby fields, where cotton is being grown without the protective blanket, the plants wilt and wither under the sun. “Healthier soil means healthier cotton,” said Basak Erdem, the farm manager of cotton fields owned and run by cotton
manufacturer SOKTAS, which is based in the Soke municipality of Aydin province.

Four years since SOKTAS first converted one hectare (2.47 acres) of land for regenerative farming — using nature-based methods to restore the land and improve its carbon storage capacity — the soil absorbs more than 18 tonnes of carbon per hectare a year.