C&A Foundation shares 2018 highlights and lessons learned
C&A Foundation launches the fifth-anniversary edition of its Annual Report, reviewing highlights and breakthrough moments of 2018 and sharing the lessons learned from its first years of grant-making to make fashion a force for good.
“In these five years, we have learned a lot about what works – and what doesn’t – when using patient, philanthropic capital to try and affect large shifts in a system,” says Leslie Johnston, C&A Foundation Executive Director, in her opening letter.
“All of these lessons will inform our work as we look towards the next five years… using our core values – resolute, risk-takers, collaborative, transparent, people-focused – as a guide, we can see the path ahead. It is time for C&A Foundation to step up our effort, and it is time for the entire industry to use its collective power to make fashion a force for good.” Leslie Johnston, C&A Foundation Executive Director
In 2018, C&A Foundation invested EUR 48.3 million, with over 34 new partnerships and 24 renewed partnerships, to increase the production and uptake of organic cotton, improve working conditions, end child and forced labour, foster new circular business models, and build resilient communities.
By supporting and fostering 13 multi-stakeholder initiatives, that together represent over 30 companies with 850 billion in revenue and more than 62 civil society organisations, the foundation has also harnessed a collective power to create change.
2018’s breakthrough moments:
- A new stage for the organic cotton sector: The Cotton Trailblazers event in May 2018 showed that a more holistic approach to mainstreaming sustainable cotton in Madhya Pradesh is starting to work.
- Worker-powered transparency drives improved conditions: Data gathered from 5,300 workers through Wage Indicator’s web and app-based platform has led to tangible improvements in worker rights for over 30,000 workers at 15 factories.
- From disruptive movement to constructive brand accountability: Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index was adapted to Brazil with impressive results: a 122% improvement in average scores from the first questionnaire to the final submission.
- Scaling innovation: In 2018, Fashion for Good increased its total corporate partners to 15, uniting leading brands in giving a collective signal to the market that there is strong demand for ground-breaking solutions.
- From a one-way relationship to a partnership of equals: C&A Foundation’s first ever All Partner Designer Forum helped spark new ideas, share lessons, and explore how partners can better support each other.
Lessons learned in five years of philanthropic activities:
- Strengthen the organisation, increase the impact: If a contribution is going to be greater than the sum of its parts, we need to invest in an organisation’s core capabilities like leadership, strategy, planning and communications.
- Good results demand collective learning: A collaborative approach to systemic change is complicated. That’s why it is crucial to build trust and have a continuous and open dialogue, co-creating the roadmap with all stakeholders.
- Changing policy with one voice: To change policy, we need to form alliances that break the comfortable patterns. Unique partnerships can spark solutions that haven’t been thought of and increase pressure on decision-makers.
- Learning without application is not learning: In our urgent quest for systems change, we sometimes forget the basics. And that’s a crucial mistake. It may seem simple, but we need to be constantly vigilant about applying what we learn.
- €48.3m in total grants
- 34 new initiatives finances across all signature programmes
- 24 partnerships renewed across all signature programmes
- 30 policy changes implemented with the support of our partners, since 2015 across 3 strategic programmes.
- 8.8m beneficiaries of the humanitarian and disaster risk reduction programme
- 21,000 beneficiaries of employee engagement activities
- 13 multi-stakeholder initiatives supported
C&A releases its 2018 Global Sustainability Report
The launch of C&A Foundation’s 2018 Annual Report coincides with the release of the 2018 C&A Global Sustainability Report. C&A Foundation and its corporate partner, the global retailer C&A, work to boost each other’s work to transform the apparel industry. C&A reports strong performance towards its 2020 sustainability goals in its report and announces its achievements and commitments with a focus on its products, supply chain and employees.
“Half of the raw materials used in our collections are sourced more sustainably, where we can clearly see that our actions are helping the environment, improving smallholder farmer livelihoods and making it easy for our customers to make more sustainable choices,” said Jeffrey Hogue, C&A Chief Sustainability Officer.
Together, the two reports paint a picture of how C&A and C&A Foundation together make fashion sustainable and responsible, encouraging the industry to become a force for good.
About C&A Foundation
C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation here to transform the fashion industry. We give our partners financial support, expertise and networks so they can make the fashion industry work better for every person it touches. We do this because we believe that despite the vast and complex challenges we face, we can work together to make fashion a force for good.
With nearly 1,900 stores in 21 countries worldwide and around 51,000 employees, C&A is a leading fashion retail business. C&A welcomes and provides millions of visitors each day with good quality fashion at affordable prices for their entire family. C&A is an enterprise of COFRA Holding AG with a presence in Europe, Brazil, Mexico and China.
Senior Communications Manager, C&A Foundation
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