2018

Annual

Report

 A LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

a letter from the executive director

Five years ago, we publicly launched the global C&A Foundation, driven by our conviction that fashion can be fair and sustainable, and enable people to thrive.

We have consistently looked for interventions where our relatively small contribution could make an accelerative impact on the whole system.

leslie johnston | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, C&A FOUNDATION

In that time, we have forged deep, strategic partnerships across five programme areas and across the globe, testing different ways to change business-as-usual to business-for-good.


From supporting one of the industry’s first worker-driven social responsibility initiatives to building a uniquely collaborative platform for innovation, we have consistently looked for interventions where our relatively small contribution could make an accelerative impact on the whole system. I am so proud of our results, which are largely down to the passion of our almost 60 strong team of professionals and our over 140 partners. 



Learning as we grow

In these five years, we have learned a lot about what works – and what doesn’t – when using patient, philanthropic capital to try and effect large shifts in a system. For example, in the beginning, we underestimated the importance of advocacy. After our first few years of operating, we started experimenting with ways to create regulatory carrots and sticks to nudge better business practices. From promoting organic cotton in India to fighting forced labour in Brazil, our advocacy efforts are still nascent but growing.


We also realised the power of providing core, often unrestricted, support to our partners, particularly smaller, grassroots organisations. From Awaj Foundation in Bangladesh to Action for Social Advancement in India, we are still working to build the field of high-performing, local organisations that will have a strong collective impact and who will continue to grow and attract funding long after our partnership has ended.


All of these lessons will inform our work as we look towards the next five years. 

The task ahead is daunting, but I know that we can rise to the challenge. If we act now.

leslie johnston | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, C&A FOUNDATION

Resolute

We are resolute in our belief that the industry has the power and ability to be a force for good.

Risk-takers

We are not afraid to take risks in order to find new solutions that will transform the industry.

Collaborative

We believe that collective action is the only way to create lasting change.

Transparent

We are open and honest about what works and what doesn’t with both ourselves and everyone around us.

People-focused

We always remember the people we do this for.

Audacious action needed now more than ever

While our mission remains, the urgency to act has deepened. In late 2018, the UN warned that we have just 12 years to address the global climate crisis. Today, the fashion industry contributes to around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions with its long supply chains and energy-intensive production. And this shows no signs of abating. Recently, the Union of Concerned Scientists in Fashion criticised our industry for its insufficient response to the “intensifying ecological crisis”.


At the same time, Sustainable Development Goal 8 calls for the eradication of child labour by 2025 – and yet globally 152 million children continue to work, with millions toiling in fields, factories and homes for this industry.


As we mould our next five-year strategy, using our core values as a guide, we can see the path ahead. We need to use our precious resources in the smartest way possible.


We need to bring organisations together, to spur new innovations and create new business models that meet people’s needs and regenerate the environment. We need to build and strengthen the field and enable better policies. And we need to nudge the shift in cultural norms and values that will underpin and uplift every singular initiative.


The task ahead is daunting, but I know that we can rise to the challenge. If we act now. It is time for C&A Foundation to accelerate our efforts to help the entire industry to use its collective power to make fashion a force for good.

It is time for this entire industry to use its collective power to make fashion a force for good.

leslie johnston | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, C&A FOUNDATION