The Impact of DeFacto’s Sustainable Fashion Initiatives and the United Nations Global Compact Event

DeFacto's Sustainable Fashion Initiatives

Are you concerned about the impact of fashion on our planet? The clothing industry is the second-largest polluter worldwide, only lagging behind oil. Through this blog post, we aim to shed light on DeFacto, the transformative fashion brand who is set to take the stage at the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) event in New York. Their journey is inspiring. Important topics include:

  • Becoming a Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) member in 2022, DeFacto commits to source 50% of cotton sustainably within five years.
  • Notable water conservation: 13,511,834 liters saved across 1,930,262 products in a year.
  • Strategic logistics cuts 6,657 kg CO2 saves 303 trees, and 3646 liters of fuel.
  • DeFacto is pioneering zero waste with all waste recycled or repurposed by 2023.

Speaking on behalf of DeFacto at the UN Private Sector Forum, Önder Şenol remarked, “Our participation in the United Nations Private Sector Forum, an exclusive event with only 90 individuals invited worldwide, fills us with immense pride. DeFacto’s core philosophy revolves around eco-sensitive production, the preservation of our planet and its invaluable resources, the enhancement of human value, a commitment to addressing societal issues, and an unwavering commitment to transparency. In alignment with this philosophy, we pledged our support to the United Nations Global Compact in 2014, becoming one of the first two Turkish fashion brands to do so. Our sustainability journey has led us to actively address various pressing global concerns, ranging from climate change to water crises and human rights.”

Intrigued? Let’s dive deeper!

The Clothing and Textile Industry’s Impact on Sustainability

The clothing and textile industry has a significant impact on sustainability through its contributions to global manufacturing, employment statistics, and environmental footprint.

DeFacto's Sustainable Fashion Initiatives

Contributions to global manufacturing

The clothing industry plays a big role in global manufacturing. It makes jobs for many people around the world. But, there is also a bad side. This work uses up a lot of our Earth’s resources and can hurt it too. For example, lots of water gets used to grow cotton or make synthetic fibers. Also, factories create air pollution when they make clothes. The dyeing process can poison rivers if not done right.

All these steps have an impact on our planet and its health.

Employment statistics

The clothing and textile industry plays a significant role in creating employment opportunities worldwide. In fact, it is one of the largest employers globally, providing jobs for millions of people.

These jobs range from garment workers to designers, marketers, and salespeople. By supporting sustainable fashion initiatives like DeFacto’s, we can not only address the environmental impact of the industry but also contribute to improving working conditions and job prospects for those employed in this sector. Sustainable practices can help create more stable and ethical supply chains while promoting social sustainability within the fashion industry.

Environmental impact

The clothing and textile industry has a significant environmental impact. It contributes to global manufacturing and uses massive amounts of water, energy, and chemicals. This leads to pollution, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, the fast fashion trend generates large amounts of waste as garments are discarded quickly. Sustainable fashion initiatives aim to address these issues by promoting ethical supply chains, reducing waste through recycling and upcycling, and implementing eco-friendly production practices such as using organic materials and renewable energy sources.

DeFacto’s sustainable fashion initiatives have made a positive impact on the United Nations Global Compact by aligning with its goals for environmental sustainability and promoting responsible business practices in the fashion industry.

Underlining the significance of DeFacto’s presence in the Private Sector Forum for Türkiye, Şenol added, “Our involvement in diverse initiatives aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, both globally and locally, is a testament to our unwavering commitment. During our participation in the Private Sector Forum, we had the privilege of demonstrating how seamlessly we integrate the SDGs into every facet of our operations, from our corporate structure and workforce to our production facilities, stores, and the communities we serve. We shared our vision for the years ahead and articulated our commitment to these goals with fellow participants. Our participation not only champions Türkiye’s sustainability endeavors but also underscores Turkish businesses’ dedication to global sustainability efforts. As a leading brand present in 93 countries, we remain committed to representing Türkiye on the global stage.”

DeFacto's Sustainable Fashion Initiatives

DeFacto’s Noteworthy and Unique Efforts and Achievements:

  • Just last month, DeFacto was honored with the “Sustainable Retailer of the Year” award at the Global RLI (Retail & Leisure International) Awards 2023 in London, which celebrates outstanding retail concepts from around the world.
  • DeFacto goes beyond supporting their suppliers and customers in reducing their carbon footprint; they also focus on raising awareness among fashion enthusiasts through various projects and campaigns. In 2018, they initiated the “From Fabric to Dreams” corporate social responsibility project, aimed at providing multifaceted benefits to society and the future. Through this transformative project, textile waste generated from their factories and suppliers, as well as surplus fabric and accessories, were sent to vocational schools in collaboration with provincial/district National Education Directorates. These materials were then transformed into new designs. DeFacto’s collections prioritize raw materials and technologies with the least environmental impact.
  • What sets DeFacto apart is their unwavering commitment to their initiatives. They have not only kept all their promises but have also actively participated as speakers in the “Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)” events since 2017. These events are conducted under the UN Women, Global Compact, and UN ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) umbrella, highlighting their dedication to promoting gender equality and sustainability. 

Önder Şenol, the visionary behind DeFacto’s sustainability journey, is among the elite 78 individuals chosen from 23,341 UNGC members to participate in the Private Sector Forum featuring UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. This marks DeFacto as the first Turkish brand to grace this prestigious platform.

72th session of the UN General Assembly in New York

Every year, a High-Level UN General Assembly is held in New York, where world leaders, private companies, and civil society organizations from 193 member countries come together. Chaired by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, this assembly spans a week. Each year, different topics are chosen, and all stakeholders gather around a common mission to create shared prosperity for all.

This year’s theme is Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). On the first day of the UN General Assembly, September 18th, private sector representatives will meet with government spokespersons to discuss how they will integrate Sustainable Development Goals into their internal operations, how they will implement them in the coming years, and what approaches they will take to define and describe them.

According to the United Nations’ work, as the year 2030 approaches, it is reported that only 15% of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals have been achieved, 48% are in progress, and 37% are under review. In response to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for action regarding Sustainable Development Goals, UN Global Compact initiated the “Forward Faster as An Early Mover” initiative, focusing on five areas that serve Sustainable Development Goals. Carefully selected companies will share their work as participants in a closed meeting during the General Assembly.

For companies taking early action and quick steps in these areas, it is necessary to define their business practices according to at least one of these topics.

The five topics are:

  1. Gender Equality
  2. Climate Action
  3. Living Wage
  4. Finance & Investment
  5. Water Resilience

Gender Equality

Efforts made:

We are the first retail company in Turkey to sign the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in 2015 to increase women’s participation in the workforce.

Goals served:

Happy Women Movement (Extra benefits provided to female employees by the Human Resources Department)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 5: Gender Equality
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Climate Action

Efforts made:

We are conducting efforts in Climate Change and Energy Management, Circular Economy and Waste Management, and Sustainable Product Management.

Goals served:

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 13: Climate Action
SDG 14: Life Below Water
SDG 15: Life on Land
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Goals by 2030:

  • Ensure that 90% of our Ready-to-Wear Collections are sustainable.
  • Ensure the use of 100% recycled polyester and sustainable cotton in our raw materials.
  • Achieve a 25% reduction in water impact within our supply chain.
  • Source 100% of the electricity used in DeFacto operations from renewable sources by 2030.
  • Achieve a 55% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Achieve a 25% reduction in Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.

Goals by 2050:

Achieve net-zero emissions by eliminating emissions by 2050.

Living Wage

Efforts made:

In 2017, we discussed the work we did as Defacto on “Equal Work, Equal Pay” at the CSW.

Goals served:

SDG 1: No Poverty
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
SDG 5: Gender Equality
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10: Reduced Inequality
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Water Resilience

Efforts made:

We are conducting efforts in Water Efficiency and Wastewater Management.

Goals served:

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 13: Climate Action
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Impact on the United Nations Global Compact

DeFacto’s sustainable fashion initiatives will have a significant impact on the United Nations Global Compact. By aligning their practices with the UN’s sustainability goals, DeFacto has contributed to the collective efforts in creating a more socially and environmentally responsible fashion industry. They have demonstrated their commitment to corporate social responsibility by implementing sustainable development practices throughout their value chain, from sourcing materials to manufacturing and distribution.

Through their initiatives, DeFacto has shown that it is possible for companies in the clothing industry to operate in a way that minimizes environmental impact while also prioritizing social sustainability. By adopting circular economy principles and promoting ethical supply chains, they are actively working towards reducing waste, conserving resources, and ensuring fair labor practices.


DeFacto’s sustainable fashion initiatives have had a significant impact on the United Nations Global Compact. By implementing sustainable practices throughout their value chain, DeFacto has contributed to the global collective effort towards sustainability and achieved positive outcomes in terms of environmental and social impact. Their commitment to corporate social responsibility and ethical fashion sets an example for other companies in the fashion industry to follow, helping drive progress towards a more sustainable future.

Read more fashion articles at Cliché
Images provided by Defacto, Unsplash, & Pexels

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Love lifestyle and fashion. Being an editor actually allows me to learn about all of the latest trends and topics.