What is Sustainability?
Typically, sustainability is defined as “the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” It typically boils down to the triple bottom line of people, profits and planet.
So, when we talk about our towels being sustainable, what exactly do we mean? There are five key aspects to it.
1.) Sustainability in How our Products are Made
Our operations are as sustainable as possible, using only safe dyes and procedures. All Turkish Towel Company products are certified Oeko-Tex® – an international standard that sets limits on close to 200 potentially harmful substances and chemicals, including phthalates and VOC emissions. With this certification, we can guarantee that our processes (and products) are free of harmful heavy metals like lead and arsenic, as well as many allergy-inducing and irritating chemicals.
2.) Sustainability in How Employees are Treated
The people factor is key to sustainability. All employees in our Turkish manufacturing facility receive fair wages that adhere to European Union standards. But fair-trade amounts to much more than simply fair wages; it’s about creating a respectful and rewarding work environment. We happily provide our workers with free transportation, hot lunches and daily snack breaks. We have a greenhouse that grows tomatoes.
3.) Sustainability in How Our Products Perform
Some other towel companies claim that a good towel is expected to last one-to-two years. Seriously? Just as much as people are starting to reject “fast fashion” – that cheap, trendy clothing that is harmful to the environment, human well-being, and ultimately our wallets – we reject “towel turnover.” We want our towels to last five years, 10 years and beyond.
As a business owned by two families, we care about the products you put next to your body every day. Co-founder Seher Gürgün, whose family has been weaving towels for three generations, personally oversees the manufacturing process. We make all of our towels to hotel standards, able to withstand the harsh commercial laundering conditions of the hospitality industry. There’s an inside joke in our office that our towels are so good that you’ll never have to buy from us again. (But we hope you do!)
4.) Sustainability in Ongoing Energy + Water Efficiency
Over the past couple of decades, we’ve seen a move to larger, heavier towels. While we will always have denser, plush-weight towels of 600 GSM and above for those towel connoisseurs out there (you know who you are!), we have actively created new lines of flat-woven peshtemals and our unique line of peshterry towels, which are flat-woven on one side and the familiar terry loop we all love on the other. The peshterry towels check in at 30% lighter than a typical towel, and peshtemals are less than half. This means you save save 30% on electricity, water, and detergent in their laundering with our peshterry towels alone. (It’s little wonder we have branded them as the “Dries Itself Towel”)
5.) Sustainability in Our Corporate Responsibility
Companies are corporate citizens. What they do help local and regional communities thrive is a vital part of creating a sustainable society and future. The Turkish Towel Company has donated towels to a variety of animal-related causes, such as shelters and even the New England Aquarium in Boston to help with the Turtle Rescue. We’ve donated pallets of towels to victims of hurricanes, such as Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina. We also support women’s and children’s shelters with robes and towels. From breast cancer walk-a-thons to fundraisers for Down’s Syndrome, we give charities our products for use in raffles, auctions or to reward participants.
So, when you buy our towels and robes, know that they are not only sustainable in how they are made, but are rooted in a full circle of sustainability that encompasses the environment, people and communities.