Interview with Lutfu Okman

Lutfu Okman
Lutfu Okman
Global Head
BASF Textile Chemicals
BASF Textile Chemicals

... you need to have the expertise and technical know-how and unique solutions to differentiate yourself from the many competitors out there.
Lutfu Okman, the global head of BASF textile chemicals business unit, speaks about what it takes to be a leader in the industry while he converses with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi. Synopsis: BASF portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and agricultural products to oil and gas. The company's revenue for the year 2012 was 78.729billion Euros. BASF's Textile Chemicals business is a leading global supplier of chemical solutions to the textile industry. Its products are used in weaving, pre-treatment, optical brightening, printing, coating and finishing, as well as dyeing auxiliaries for textiles. It is headquartered in Singapore. Lutfu Okman was appointed as head of global textile chemicals business unit of BASF in the year 2011. In 1996, he started his professional career as Regional Sales Export Representative, Isiklar Group. He holds a M.B.A. from the Canterbury Business School at the University of Kent (UK) and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Istanbul Technical University. Excerpts:

What is the main objective of BASF for the year 2013-2014?

With respect to BASF Textile Chemicals, we strive to continue to grow in this very challenging and competitive environment by focussing on segments and applications used in the production of premium textile articles, providing reliable, innovative, sustainable solutions with a lower environmental footprint, continued investment in R&D and excellence in our business operations. Our Textile Chemicals will continue to focus on products and solutions that are ecologically-friendly and sustainable. Consumer safety, resource saving and climate protection remain at the core of our business – enabling us to help shape the future of the textile industry by 'Putting future into Textiles.’ This means ensuring that our products and solutions are safe for consumers, eco-friendly with minimal impact on the environment and energy efficient.

Manufacturing of dyes and chemicals requires a lot of water and causes pollution. Being in this industry, how can we reduce burden on nature while maintaining a good productivity?

We are committed to sustainable development and that encompasses ecology in its entirety – climate protection, resource saving and consumer safety. With this commitment, we continue to play an active role in shaping the future of the textile industry together with our partners. Developed with the technical knowledge and expertise of our R&D team, our textile chemical solutions are highly eco-efficient, thereby substantially reducing water and energy consumption, saving time and total costs. We also actively work with our partners to ensure proper applications of our textile chemicals and appropriate treatment of waste products. We believe that responsibility for the environment and society will ensure sustainable success for the business and the industry.

What is your opinion about the textile markets of Japan and Australia?

They are both very different niche markets with focused needs and requirements. There are potential for growth in the technical textile segments in these markets, for example, functional and performance apparel, medical textiles and home textiles.

How can the concept of 'Ethical Sourcing’ be applied in the business of dyes and chemicals?

Our Group does business in a socially and ethically responsible way and do our utmost with due diligence to ensure that we engage in ethical business operations with our partners, suppliers, vendors and distributors. This principle applies to every aspect of our business within the Group, including Textile Chemicals division.

In terms of supply, specifically in the apparel making/textile/ textile related industry, which is that commodity/area which still needs to develop? You feel that it has a real scarcity in the market?

A key raw material will be the production of cotton and the available supply for the textile industry. However, we do not have direct influence over this. The other area that we can and will continue to play an active role is in the drive towards sustainable development in the textile value chain with focus on sustainability and ecology, which we have already been doing. We want to work with and support our partners and customers to provide safe textiles and to create awareness amongst our stakeholders to be socially responsible to the environment and to society.
Published on: 13/08/2013

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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