Nexans Turkey General Manager Atilla Kurtiş:
“Our Goal as Nexans is to pioneer the safe, sustainable, carbon-free new world of
electrification accessible to everyone”
One of the cable sector’s leading companies Nexans is attracting attention and setting an example with its environmentally conscious production and the social projects it has achieved in addition to the quality of its products. We spoke to Nexans Turkey General Manager Atilla Kurtiş about their company, their goals and the cable sector.
Could you summarize Nexans’s Turkey journey? Would you evaluate it in terms of production, employment and sales?
The foundations of Nexans Turkey goes back to Ergun Cable, established in Denizli in 1968 and İzka Cable established in Tuzla in 1973. Known then as Alcatel Cable, the company made acquisitions in the following years and led the merger of these two companies and then as of the year 2000, continued on this journey with the Nexans brand in the global and Turkish organization.
As Nexans Turkey, an important part of the Nexans Group that has established its presence in 42 countries with around 25,000 employees, we produce systematic and integrated solutions to fulfill the needs of our customers for electricity distribution and use, with 2 factories in Istanbul Tuzla and Denizli, 2 R&D Centers and over 500 employees.
Nexans Turkey is a brand that exports 60% of its production to European countries in particular in addition to its brand power and market share in the domestic market, contributes significantly to the country’s economy with these export figures and has been deemed serving of the “Stars of Export” award.
What is your vision and your goals for the period ahead of us as the management?
It is clear that the Nexans Group has played a very important role in the electrification of the world for longer than a hundred years and will continue to be present as an important player in the future.
We state Nexans goal as pioneering the new world of safe, sustainable, renewable, carbon free electrification accessible to everyone.
In parallel with the Group strategy, Nexans is working with the aim of continuing to provide sustainable profitability to our customers and business partners with the innovative and smart solutions we have developed, by focusing on electrification and renewable energy areas, putting our goal of contributing to carbon neutrality by 2030, the planet and the human factor first.
In recent years, there has been sensitivity about environmentally friendly production, especially in EU countries, and a series of action plans have been announced. What is your approach as a company to issues such as digital transformation, Industry 4.0, the European Green Consensus …?
Nexans plays an important role worldwide in achieving a more livable and sustainable planet. Our group has taken significant steps towards its commitment to be carbon neutral in 2030 within the scope of sustainability. We have set ourselves a target, as the Group and Nexans Turkey to reduce our carbon emissions by 4.2% every year. We, as Nexans, are focusing on 2 fields to be able to achieve this goal: To contribute to carbon neutrality by reducing the consumption of the sources of our greenhouse gas emissions, such as waste and energy with our Industry 4.0 supported projects and to be a leader for the sustainable electrification of our planet.
The Nexans Group has been a member of the UN Global Compact since 2008. In this context, we have included sustainable development goals in our corporate social responsibility policy. SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) SDG 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) targets form the building blocks of our strategy
Nexans was among the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) A-List companies in 2020 and made the commitment to contribute to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C by 2030.
Based on our 2021 results, I would like to state that we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 4.2%, consistent with our goal.
Also, the energy efficiency projects and investments we have developed in our production facilities greatly support this goal. We are aware of the importance of seeing the results of the actions we take to achieve these goals and the contribution we make to our planet. We know that it is a necessity for our planet that we all move towards this common goal.
The use and dissemination of digital technologies is one of our biggest supporters in this process... Our digital transformation projects consist of programs that increase productivity, establish disruptive business models and trigger innovation for the present and future of humanity. The programs we have implemented at Nexans allow us to monitor, measure and improve our sustainable business model. Our aim with these programs is to support the economic cycle by optimizing the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions and resource usage arising from our processes. Many of our projects, in which we utilize technologies such as AI, bigdata, IOT, and digital twin, continue simultaneously in our factories.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a manufacturer in Turkey? The exchange rate, energy cost and raw material problems, which have become chronic in recent years, must be the most important issues…
In terms of labor cost, Turkey has a great advantage when compared to product added value. Human resources also provide a great advantage in terms of qualified labor. This advantage makes a significant difference especially for multinational companies like us. Of course, there are challenges we face due to geographical location and economic situation. One of the main factors is energy; it is important both in terms of cost increase and sustainability, but Turkey has great potential in this regard, especially in creating a renewable energy sources and turning this into an advantage. The cable industry, an advanced industry with an important position in our country, is one of the most important players in turning this potential into an advantage. This creates a mutually beneficial cycle.
Regarding the raw material crisis, it would not be right to reduce it to the country. The current crisis is being experienced all over the world, but the existing R&D infrastructure and the efforts of local companies in this direction will reveal solutions in the medium term. Plus, all these difficulties can be transformed to an opportunity for companies like us that have the ability to develop business both at home and abroad. Flexibility in doing business, quick adaptation and implementation skills will be even more important in this period. It is also obvious that many companies focus on localization efforts within their R&D centers against current and potential raw material crises.
How do you evaluate the Turkish cable industry in terms of production infrastructure, flexibility, product quality and sales-marketing capabilities?
The Turkish cable industry is one of the most important cable bases in the world with its installed production capacity, geopolitical location advantage, number of manufacturers and wide product portfolio. Our export figure is over 2 billion US dollars every year, there is significant value created here and foreign exchange inflow to our country, so we are talking about a serious achievement. For many European countries, Turkey is ranked among the first or top three countries where the most cable exports are made. When we look at the brand and quality perception, Turkish cable brands are acknowledged and can achieve an important position with their engineering infrastructure, knowledge and experience.
Of course, as in every sector, marketing is as important as producing quality products in line with customer demands. In a global environment where competition is increasing daily, it is not always possible to make a difference with only cost, experience and quality. This is where innovative solutions and marketing techniques come in. As digitalization becomes important in this regard, innovative solutions are critical. This is when university-industry collaborations, start-ups, R&D centers appear as subjects to focus on.
We know that you have achieved many social projects as a company. Can you tell us about your most recent social responsibility project and the other projects you have accomplished as Nexans Turkey?
Nexans is the first company in its industry to establish a Foundation that supports sustainable initiatives that will facilitate access to energy for disadvantaged communities around the world. As Nexans Turkey, we share this vision. We have numerous social responsibility projects that we carry out both with the Nexans Foundation and locally. Many of these have an impact on children.
In line with our principle of Diversity and Inclusion, I believe that we should help children, especially girls, become young people who are interested in science and will join our industry in the future.
In particular, I can talk about our projects that have been implemented along with TEGV (Turkish Education Volunteers Foundation) in cooperation with the Nexans Turkey team and the Nexans Foundation. In this context, we helped the TEGV Deliktaş Education Unit in Denizli acquire its new and modern building and with the support of Nexans, we prepared our energy and electricity themed education program that will reach our children throughout Turkey.
Since digital education channels became more important with the pandemic, we cooperated with TEGV to create a website where our children can learn about electricity with fun videos, games and experiments.
We have a very new project in which we cooperate with the Cafer Sadık Abalıoğlu Foundation to help bring renewable solar energy to the DOÇEM Special School for Children with Autism in Denizli. This is as important for the environment as it is for the health of our special children there.
In addition to all this, we work closely with NGOs throughout the year to organize activities and events that will raise awareness among our employees at every opportunity.
We as Nexans Turkey, we will continue to contribute to our ecosystem and society with great passion and commitment.