How can impact investors contribute to a better fashion industry? We held another circle meeting with our friends at Active Philanthropy to find out…

Only second to oil, fashion is the most polluting industry in world. And in many nations, garment makers are working in appalling conditions, have no basic trade union rights, and are paid very little. In light of this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world’s largest event focusing on sustainability in fashion, we held our third Danish Impact Investment Circle meeting, with a focus on the fashion industry.

Yesterday we welcomed our network of investors and foundations to the meeting held at the Carlsberg Foundation, where Silja Nyboe Andersen, Manager at Active Philanthropy, gave the opening speech.

The first speaker of the day was Dr. James Gifford, the founding Executive Director of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and a recognised World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Dr. Gifford leads TAU’s impact strategy and works to help companies boost their social and environmental impact. He often focuses on improving supply chains within the fashion industry.

Dr. Gifford spoke about public and private equity impact investing opportunities. He also discussed specific mechanisms of impact, how certain forms of impact can be measured, and concluded with urging participants to “catalyse others for impact”.

“As foundations and investors, you can ask the tough questions, share your knowledge with others, and get involved with policy,” he said.

“your money doesn’t have to be the only catalyst for change, You have the power to DRIVE impact in a number of ways.”

Following Dr. Gifford’s inspiring presentation were the founders of Organic Basics, Mads Fibiger and Christoffer Immanuel. As a prime example of a new sustainable brand, the young entrepreneurs shared the Organic Basics journey and their experiences of impact investing.

Organic Basics are producers of organic and sustainable underwear, and they’re “all about getting the business right from the beginning,” according to Fibiger. The cotton used for their garments is grown on a wind farm in Turkey, and due to the unique weather conditions, no pesticides are needed and the growing and harvesting process is much more efficient than traditional methods.

“We know sustainability is an on-going process and we’re always seeking new knowledge about how to improve our production and product,” Immanuel explained. “The next goal is looking at how we can effectively collect and recycle our products.”

Organic Basics’ first Kickstarter campaign reached its target in just two days. They’re now running their second campaign for their new range SilverTech, which has already raised almost 400K Danish kroner.

The meeting was concluded with an open Q&A session. This led to some valuable feedback regarding key questions to ask, and future focus areas for the next Circle meetings.

On behalf of INDEX: Design to Improve Life® and Active Philanthropy, we’d like to extend a huge thank you to all our speakers and participants, and we look forward to the next Circle meeting!

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