10 December 2019
An interview with Bart van Bolhuis, Consul General of the Netherlands in Istanbul, and Ceren Erten, Senior Commercial Advisor at the Consulate General.
What are the challenges Turkey faces concerning climate change and sustainability?
“Here in Turkey they are not quite as far as in the Netherlands. The economy is growing and so the priority is not always with sustainability. For example, the country is still reliant on cole on one hand. On the other hand it is facing an increasing number of unemployed people. Theories are rising that quantitative growth is no longer the solution, but sustainability and the transition towards a circular economy could play a role, because it creates jobs. Generally this awareness is growing and even the new mayor of Istanbul wants to transform the city into a green and creative metropole.”
What are the opportunities for Turkey concerning the circular economy?
“The opportunities for the circular economy are threefold. Firstly, many companies are focused on the European market, for example in the textile and consumer electronics sector. They should stay ahead of competitors and rivalry, so they keep an eye on the market. They are aware of consumer trends, a changing market and a growing circular economy in Europe, and want to be a part of this. Secondly, Turkey is facing enormous waste management challenges. Concerns around this topic are rising, you see this in many other countries too. Lastly, the country is still very dependent on raw materials and virgin resources. From a micro-economical perspective it would be strategically interesting to decrease this import. Reuse, recycle and reduce of resources would make the country less reliant and more self sufficient, which will ultimately benefit the economy as a whole.”
“Some of the bigger Turkish companies are active in circular entrepreneurship. A good example is Arçelik, one of the largest producers of appliances. They introduced a vacuum cleaner with 90% recycled plastic and a washing machine with reused plastic bottles for the plastic parts. It is their mission to normalise the use of recycled plastic in the manufacturing industry. Another great example is Sütaş, one of Turkish largest milk producers, that reuses all of their organic waste in order to produce biogas.”