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ZUG – The growing reach of philanthropy in the apparel space is in further evidence this week as the Brenninkmeijer family, which own C&A, launch the Laudes Foundation. The foundation aims to address “the dual crises of climate breakdown and inequality that endanger nature and jeopardise the safety and dignity of countless communities around the world.” Leslie Johnston, executive director at C&A Foundation, will be CEO of the new body. 

From what we can gather, Laudes is effectively taking over the work of the C&A Foundation. A note on that organisation’s website says: “As of 17 January 2020, C&A Foundation is operating under the new name Laudes Foundation. All outstanding legal obligations of C&A Foundation have been taken over without need of adjustment or amendment.”

Discussing the news, Martijn Brenninkmeijer, chairman of the Brenninkmeijer family enterprise, said: “Today there is an enormous challenge we must face. Through Laudes Foundation we will  work with businesses, shareholders and investors to create a new definition of value; with thought leaders and academics to make that definition credible; with policy-makers to make it effective; with civil society to make it plausible; with media and movement-builders to make it desirable; and with citizens to make it beneficial.”

A statement said Laudes Foundation will build on lessons learned from other endeavours, past and present. In particular, it will continue and advance the work of C&A Foundation.

“Over the past five years at C&A Foundation, we have learned so much about what it takes to change an industry. We built networks and strengthened partnerships with the aim of creating lasting and positive change in the global fashion system. And, together with our flagship initiative Fashion for Good, we demonstrated that business and philanthropy can work successfully together to change the industry status quo,” added Leslie Johnston, CEO of Laudes Foundation. 

“We also learned that in order to effect change in one industry, we need to address those deeper, systemic issues of the global economic system.”

‘Laudes’ is derived from the Latin word for ‘praise’. It alludes to the Lauds morning prayers and refers to the 2015 papal encyclical, ‘Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home’.


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