Good Fashion Fund to scale innovation
It takes more than good intentions to make fashion a force for good. And it is no secret that to transform the industry, we need to fundamentally change the way we business. Today, there is a wealth of ideas and innovations able to shake the status quo; however, the capital to take those to scale is largely still missing.
That’s where the Good Fashion Fund comes in. The first investment fund of its kind, it will focus on driving the implementation of innovative solutions within the fashion industry. As a part of Fashion for Good the fund will enable manufacturers to take risks and implement new innovations that come, for example from Fashion for Good’s innovation platform - into their factory. The fund will focus specifically on manufacturers in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, giving them access to transformational innovation that they might otherwise not afford to implement.
As we witness more and more brands commit to sustainability goals, steps must be taken to bridge the finance gap that exists to take the innovation that exist to scale within the supply chain, and the Good Fashion Fund will do exactly that. Most factory interventions programmes focus on improving efficiency, but the Fund will focus on funding interventions that fundamentally change the way that products are manufactured.
Our vision is that with the fund’s backing, manufacturers and operators can build an apparel supply chain that uses recyclable and safe materials and operates with clean and less energy. Manufacturers can build closed-loop manufacturing systems where materials are reused and circular economies that are restorative and regenerative.
We all know that ‘business as usual’ will not result in the fashion industry being a true force for good. Innovation is critically needed. And yet, without sufficient funding, many innovations are unable to scale. We are therefore proud to be an anchor investor in the Good Fashion Fund which - with its high risk appetite and focus on getting innovations into the supply chain - will address this finance gap. - Leslie Johnston, Executive Director, C&A Foundation
Projects chosen for investment will have a focus on technologies supported by Fashion for Good, and must significantly improve the positive impact of apparel manufacturing, reflecting the Five Goods:
Examples could include factories that incorporate best practice and a transformational innovation, such as waterless dyeing, or a new factory, specific to an innovation, that will supply many manufacturers.
Improving working conditions
Importantly, investment will not only benefit manufacturing but must include an element to improve working conditions and provide fair jobs and sustainable growth, improving workers’ lives. Beneficiaries will typically be manufacturers with between 3,000 and 5,000 employees.
For factories to be eligible for investment, they must meet minimum best practices for social and labour standards. This includes equal pay, paid maternity leave, accessible grievance procedures, clear consequences for breaking policies, and, where applicable, safe housing for employees. Also, under the Good Lives indicator, the number of women promoted to management positions will also be counted.
A force for good
The Good Fashion Fund is the result of unique collaboration. It is initiated by Fashion for Good, with C&A Foundation and The Mills Fabrica as launching investors and managed by impact investment firm FOUNT. The fund has a target of $60m; so far, the two investors are contributing around $13.5m. More investors are needed to make sure innovations can be introduced widely, transforming the supply chain so fashion can be a force for good.
The Fund is an opportunity for donors such as governments, private foundations and for private sector companies to contribute to support innovation and contribute to environmental goals.
Like to know more about the Good Fashion Fund?
Fashion for Good
Anne-Ro Klevant Groen