The Sustainability Code is coming to Turkey 

Turkey is about to become the third country with a national Sustainability Code. The Turkish Sustainability Code, developed in collaboration with the German Sustainability Code (DNK), was announced at the Sustainability Outlook 2019 conference in Athens on 5th April 2019. Dr. Hüdai Kara and Julia Graner, Director and Manager of the Turkish Sustainability Code project, respectively, attended the conference to represent the Turkey.

The Sustainability Code, a reporting standard introduced by the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) in 2010, is open to independent, country-specific adaptations. According to the RNE, further EU and global parties are interested in the experiences with the Sustainability Code and its options for national adoption along with Turkey who is at an advanced stage of adaption and implementation.

Adaption of the Turkish Sustainability Code was agreed at the end of 2018. Currently, the Turkish Sustainability Code is at a stage of consultation with stakeholders and work on an adaption of some of the criteria to the local conditions. Relevant stakeholders and actors identified are academia, local and multinational companies, business associations, chambers of commerce, as well as civil society and consultants. The most important activities include networking to interlink relevant aforementioned actors in the development of the Code and researching further cooperation opportunities. Some important milestones including the Turkish version of the Code and a bilingual web presence in Turkish and English have been achieved. Thanks to the generous support provided by the Turkish Centre for Sustainable Production Research and Design (SÜRATAM), The Turkish Sustainability Code team currently has an office and makes use of SÜRATAM’s extensive industrial network to further raise awareness of sustainability topics in all sectors and industries.

Images by courtesy of Can Kınalıkaya

“The cooperation is a milestone for sustainability reporting in Turkey, where sustainability reporting is voluntary and at a comparatively low level. The Turkish Sustainability Code will serve local companies from small to large as a tool for transparency and assessment on sustainability. The introduction may even lay the foundation for a Code-inspired sustainability index of listed companies based on accepted KPIs and metrics.” says Dr. Kara, Director of the Turkish Sustainability Code project.

The partnership between German Sustainability Code and Turkish Sustainability Code shows that the contents of the Code are cross-border relevant and applicable. A look at the widely varying standards of sustainability reporting and the growing interest in standardization underlines that an instrument such as the Code, which focuses on materiality, commitment and transparency, can offer a good and feasible option to internationally promote sustainable business practices.

Commenting on the announcement, Yvonne Zwick, Head of the DNK Office and Deputy Secretary General at the German Council for Sustainable Development noted: “The team in Turkey is laying the foundation to kick start the disclosure of sustainability efforts from companies of all sizes in Turkey. We are delighted to witness the announcement of the Turkish Sustainability Code and welcome them to the Code family.”