Welcome to our
2015 annual report

Leslie Johnston

Executive Director,
C&A Foundation

C&A Foundation is a global foundation with an ambitious goal: to make fashion a force for good. This is because we believe that our industry has the power and ability to improve the lives of the more than 150 million people who make the clothes we wear.

Our report last year focused on the challenges that stand in the way of our industry being fair and sustainable. This year's report focuses on the solutions we're working on to achieve this.

For example, through our grant making, we are learning more everyday about what it takes to design and launch a collective impact initiative. Conceived in 2014, the Organic Cotton Accelerator, was designed to address the deep-rooted challenges in expanding organic cotton. Together with multiple brands and other stakeholders, it took around 18 months to co-develop the foundation for what today holds the potential for a better future – for farmers, for the earth, and for each of us.

At the same time, through our Better Buying initiative, we are exploring the feasibility of new ways to increase accountability in the global apparel industry and improve purchasing practices. Over this past year, we've also convened leading thinkers in gender justice to understand how we can address the systemic injustices to garment workers worldwide. And we've taken a proven model from the hand-knitted rug industry to the homeworker sector in order to get kids out of work and into schools.

Through all of our partnerships, we've been testing many ways, or levers, that we believe will contribute to a fairer global apparel industry. Each of our partnerships addresses different issues and uses different methods, but there is a common thread across our portfolio. Our partners challenge established systems, whether it's engrained business practices, established behaviours or entrenched attitudes. We've learned that to create lasting change, we need to think – and act – differently.

This lesson has helped us develop our theory of change, which guides all of our work. We focus on three strategies:

  • Establishing proof of concept
    We support and champion pioneering models that have the potential to transform the apparel industry.

  • Building the field
    We strengthen actors and platforms who are fostering collaboration to tackle some of the industry's biggest challenges.

  • Advocating for change
    We influence the policies and social norms that are a barrier for change – whether that is current consumer behaviour or failing law enforcement.

The power of collaboration

The challenges in our industry are too great for any one organisation to solve alone. Our success depends on our many partners, from fashion brands to grassroots NGOs, as well as those platforms working to deepen collaboration across the industry. We are honoured to be able to support many of them – from the seven founding partners of the Organic Cotton Accelerator to the active dialogue with brands and retailers to identify collective actions to eradicate the Sumangali bonded labour scheme.

Together, we hold the power to create a fashion industry in which everyone – from farmer to factory worker – can thrive.