SÖKTAŞ has developed an innovative sustainable production model in cotton production called Regenerative Cotton. Through the project, SÖKTAŞ restores and revitalises soil health, sequesters carbon emissions and combats climate change. Alignment with natural cycles ushers in a multitude of additional and interrelated co-benefits related to biodiversity, water conservation and quality, reduction in greenhouse emissions, and improving livelihoods.
Direct Impact SDGs:
Our founding family has been cotton growers and merchants in the region before they established the Söktaş. This extensive farming experience, combined with the commitment to creating the very best, results in a unique proposition: We are able to harness the entire premium cotton production cycle, from fertile field to fabulous fabric.
Following extensive R&D projects undertaken in partnership with Cotton Research Institute, which first led to the creation of Meander 71, Türkiye’s first long-staple cotton, and then to Naturally Colored Cotton, we initiated our first Regenerative Cotton pilot project in 2018. Supported by Stella McCartney and the leading agricultural researchers, the Project has achieved the endorsement of the LVMH group as a whole. We began a supplementary Regenerative Cotton Project in its second year with WWF Turkey. Both projects have since been expanding, and by 2022, the size of fields we’ve allotted to Regenerative Cotton have exceeded 55 hectares.
- Stella McCartney launched “Future of Fashion” at COP26 to drive future actions by engaging brands and consumers to participate in a more nature-positive fashion industry. Söktaş Regenerative Cotton Project was one of four next-generation materials explored in the event.
- In 2019, Google announced the launch of the Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE). Combining Google’s technical capabilities with WWF’s conservation expertise, this tool seeks to help fashion brands make more sustainable sourcing decisions. The primary goal is to identify high-risk fibres in brands’ portfolio and then guide them to recommendations on how to support local initiatives to improve their environmental impact.
- Our Regenerative Cotton pilot project with Stella McCartney is featured in their introductory film.
- LVMH Group presented our Regenerative Cotton Project as a case study at the tenth edition of Future Fabrics Expo/London in June 2022, with a unique display that explored the future landscape of the textile industry.
- We also contributed to “Rewilding Textiles: Design for a Regenerative Epoch,” a publication produced by Maison Zero, which is a co-project of LVMH and Central Saint Martins College.
At Söktaş, we recognise interconnected ecosystems’ value and inherent resilience. Through employing centuries-long regenerative practices, we seek to undo the negative environmental effects of industrial agriculture.
Regenerative systems restore and revitalise soil health, sequester carbon emissions and combat climate change. Alignment with natural cycles ushers in a multitude of additional and interrelated co-benefits related to biodiversity, water conservation and quality, reduction in greenhouse emissions, and the improvement of livelihoods.
Conventional cotton production requires deep-tilling, high-water consumption, and excessive use of chemicals and pesticides. Its long-term effects are disastrous for the atmosphere, the waterways, the fields and the farmers who work them. The cycle is reversed with regenerative farming.
In our fields, we employ proprietary no-till/no-plough machinery and specialised cover crops that act as a blanket in the off-season. This way, carbon, moisture and the nutrients in the soil remain undisturbed and are reutilised by specially treated non-GMO cotton seeds.
According to us at SÖKTAŞ, cultivating Regenerative Cotton requires a holistic, place-based, systems approach. It is not a straightforward, one-size-fits-all set of practices. We work in close collaboration with leading researchers in the field and are constantly experimenting and refining our approach.
Through its unique two-century-old agriculture heritage and fifty-year expertise in yarn and fabric production, SÖKTAŞ is proud to lead this next phase in developing cotton fabrics. We truly believe that innovation motivated by the tenets of sustainable production and environmental care is the only way forward.
Regenerative agriculture holds immense promise for a range of co-benefits, including improving soil health, protecting biodiversity, conserving water resources, securing animal welfare, as well as building community resilience and livelihoods. Currently, a limited number of global pilot projects are being developed on location. Context-specific knowledge is an essential part of regenerative approaches.
SÖKTAŞ is one of the pioneers with its Regenerative Cotton mission, started in 2018, on our founding family’s lands in the fertile Menderes (Meander) Valley, Western Türkiye,10 km from SÖKTAŞ. The Meander valley has been home to ancient varieties of cotton, and skilful weavers of the region have been known to create beautiful fabrics with their craftsmanship. Weaving has been a long tradition here. This fertile land and its ancient history inspire and define the design philosophy of SÖKTAŞ.
80.000 kg of unseeded cotton has been harvested in our first two pilot crops, and we expect 300.000 kg for our 3rd crop that will be harvested in October 2022.
Restoring soil health requires time and patience, and we are still going through a transition period. Current yield and reduction in inputs are still not levelling out the costs. Still, we are confident that in time, with the improvement of soil health, hence increased yield, it will level out the upfront investments required for proprietary machinery, using a cover crop instead of a commercial one, and costs related to continuous testing & monitoring.
|KPI or equivalent required||Unit||Measurement Methods||Practice / Outcomes -based||SOKTAS – 2021 Crop|
|Soil Organic Carbon %||%||Skjemstad, J.O. Swift, R.S., & McGowan, J.A. (2006). Comparison of particulate organic carbon and permanganate oxidation methods for estimating labile soil organic carbon.
Soil Research, 44(3), 255-263. Nelson, D. W., & Sommers, L. E. (1996). Total carbon, organic carbon and organic matter. Methods of soil analysis: Part 3 Chemical methods, 5, 961-1010.
|Outcome||Topsoil 0-15 cm results are as follows.
2019 avg -0432 %
2020 avg – 0893 %
2022 avg-1.267 %
Our deep heritage, combined with our commitment to creating the best, allows us to transform fibre into the fabric with care and inspiration.
This is the SÖKTAŞ story.