Fashion’s problems are bigger than fashion alone.
Acutely aware of this, Laudes Foundation launched early this year with the bold mission to not only transform the fashion industry but the entire global economy. Bolstered by a vision of global markets that value all people and respects nature, Laudes believes that the fashion industry will only truly transform when the entire underlying system places as much value on people and nature as it does on shareholder interests.
How to Create a Regenerative Economy
Laudes Foundation grew out of C&A Foundation, which launched six years ago with a mission to transform the global apparel industry. During that period, it spearheaded many successful initiatives—from founding the world’s first collaborative platform for innovation in sustainable fashion, Fashion for Good to improving the uptake of sustainable cotton through initiatives like Cotton 2040 and the Organic Cotton Accelerator.
Despite many successes, C&A Foundation began to question whether their efforts were actually tackling the root causes of the fashion industry’s recurrent poor track record of social injustice and environmental degradation. Sadly, the answer was no. So, C&A Foundation decided to retire its brand, and in its stead, launch a new foundation with a broader mission. An extension of the industry-changing work of the C&A Foundation, Laudes Foundation will continue to advance the industry-changing work of C&A Foundation, but it will do so by joining a growing global movement to accelerate the transition to a just and regenerative economy.
How it Works
By providing their partners with philanthropic capital, expertise and connections, Laudes Foundation works collectively with and through specific industries to help catalyse systems change. At the same time, they work across all industries, influencing the financial sector. These two strategies are designed to help accelerate the existing movement and unite the organisations and funders working towards a new economy that values people and nature.
At the helm of Laudes is Leslie Johnston, who previously headed C&A Foundation as its Executive Director. During her tenure at C&A Foundation, she transformed the foundation into a global catalyst to make fashion a force for good.
Bringing over 20 years of management experience across multiple sectors, Johnston will lead the development of Laudes’ initial vision, strategy and operating model to deliver on its aspirations.
“It’s really hard to change an industry if you are not tackling the root cause of its issues. In the fashion industry, collectively we have accomplished a lot in the past few years, but if we don’t fundamentally change the structure behind it and the rules that govern it, we are merely ameliorating the symptoms of a broken system.”
– Leslie Johnston, Former Executive Director, C&A Foundation
Johnston and her team aim to challenge and inspire the industry to redefine the conventional concept of value beyond shareholder interest. A similar ethos underpins Global Fashion Agenda’s Summit, CFS+, which is why we are thrilled to have Laudes as a Principal Sponsor of CFS+. During CFS+, Johnston will speak on a panel, “Redesigning Value in the Fashion Industry.” This particular panel will explore how the industry can foster a new attitude when it comes to traditional notions of value. How can we create an industry that values all people and at the same time, protects and even restores nature will be topics of discussion. Stay tuned!