How to unlock finance for circular innovation

Entrepreneurs in various stages of maturity often spend a lot of time raising funds from investors. Since Fashion for Good launched in March 2017, we have helped innovators unlock €​​​​​​​1.4 million of finance.

Here’s what we’ve learnt from supporting innovators to unlock finance:


Storytelling matters

Circular innovations are often technical and complex. But it’s important to find a way tell your story and the impact your innovation could have in a way that non-experts can understand. For example, we coached one of our packaging start-ups to tell the bigger impact story, eventually helping them secure capital.


A clear roadmap is crucial

Traditional investors don’t tend to have long-term horizons and instead focus on short-term results. That means a clear roadmap to implementation for the foreseeable future could be crucial in securing investor interest. When one of our dyeing start-ups secured a global production and distribution partner, they demonstrated a clear route to scale and exit making them highly attractive to investors.


A clear agenda can unite industry players

The ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme is an industry coalition with an ambitious mission: to transform the industry by removing hazardous chemicals from the textile, leather and footwear manufacturing processes. ZDHC urges brands to commit to move towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals, and for suppliers to disclose the release of toxic chemicals from their facilities.

C&A Foundation was a founding member of ZDHC in 2011, and in 2017 we supported three key projects: The Gateway – Wastewater Module, which improves transparency in factories’ wastewater management data; the ZDHC InCheck Tool, which is a conformance check tool for manufacturers to self-assess their use of chemicals and source better chemicals; and funding to finalise ZDHC’s five-year strategic plans for growth, including prioritisation and documenting milestones.

There are now 85 contributors to the programme including 23 signatory brands, 47 value chain affiliates, and 15 associates.

Success story

Improving a circular product standard

The Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute exists to transform the way designers and manufacturers make products through the Cradle-to-Cradle Certified™  Products Standard.

It’s the industry’s first ever measure of circularity. However, the social standard didn’t adequately measure the impact of circularity on people’s lives.

With our funding, the Institute hired experts to strengthen the standard in this area. The revisions will be out for public consultation in 2018.