Innovation hubs Fashion for Good and The Mills Fabrica have teamed up with the C&A Foundation to launch an investment fund that will aim to “spearhead systemic change in the apparel and footwear supply chain”.
The Good Fashion Fund has launched with initial funding of $13 million, but has a target of quickly attracting new investors and raising the size of the fund to $60 million . It will be managed by specialist Amsterdam-based investment firm Fount.
“Apparel supply chains are plagued by negative environmental and social impacts,” the fund’s founders said at the time of the launch. “Sustainable solutions do exist today, but there is a lack of capital available to scale technologies up in the supply chain. The fund will address this gap, connecting the most promising technologies to the industry.”
An immediate aim is to provide loans to allow suppliers in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam to invest in new technology that will deliver economic growth and good practice. This will help textile and footwear manufacturers in those countries to start using safe and recyclable materials, clean and efficient energy and closed-loop manufacturing practices. It will also help them establish a fairer work environment for the people they employ.
Small and medium manufacturers who are committed to meeting these criteria are eligible for funding. The fund will also support larger manufacturers committed to investing in what the founders refer to as “highly disruptive technologies”, which means ideas that can quickly bring about substantial changes in the supply chain.
Managing director of Fashion for Good, Katrin Ley, said: “Disruptive innovation is needed to shift the fashion industry from a model of ‘take-make-waste’ towards a more circular and regenerative system. While the technology exists today to move forward towards circularity, it is not yet being scaled up.”
For his part, Fount partner Bob Assenberg, who is a director of the Good Fashion Fund, added: “The fund demonstrates how to invest beyond sustainability towards a restorative and regenerative apparel supply chain. It addresses the need in local markets for long-term financing for manufacturers.”
He said the work the fund will do will help the apparel and footwear sectors make an important contribution towards fulfilling a number the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations has set out as targets for 2030.