• Fashion

Country Road has launched Australia’s first fashion climate fund

Funding projects driving climate solutions in the Australian fashion industry

By Jenny Ringland

For the first time in Australia a climate fund worth $1.5 million has been launched to fund projects driving climate solutions in the Australian fashion industry.  

The Country Road Climate fund, aims to help accelerate and incubate projects, programs, initiatives or products across the Australian fashion industry that need funding to execute their solutions. The annual grants program, which is open to Australian residents and Australian owned projects, will allocate up to $500,000 in the first year.

The framework for the Climate Fund is built around four pillars acknowledging climate outcomes can be achieved through nature-based solutions, the circular economy, innovative solutions or First Nations-led practices. 

“It’s been brought about by a need and an urgency of the times. We are in a climate crisis and a biodiversity crisis, and they are critically interlinked. There is a very real need to drive climate action and we are at a critical point in history where we about to miss the opportunity to create a sustainable future for all”, says Country Road brand sustainability manager Fabia Pryor.

“The fund is playing a really important role since there are many solutions out there, but often there’s a lack of funding, so they aren’t able to be deployed or rolled out at scale.’’

Country Road sustainability manager Fabia Pryor

Fabia Pryor, Brand Sustainability Manager, Country Road

Global sustainability expert and managing director of Pollination, a specialist nature and climate advisory company, Dr. Helen Crowley is one of a board of advisors and assessment committee who will oversee the fund. 

“What makes the Country Road Climate Fund so exciting is the recognition of the Australian fashion sector’s impact on climate change. It requires pursuing and supporting multiple approaches simultaneously,’’

“This is certainly the first fund of its kind in Australia and in fact there are very few around the world in the fashion industry. Chanel and Burbery have funds and a few others. The world is relying on Australia to lead the way.’’

Dr Helen Crowley, Managing Director, Pollination

Dr Helen Crowley, Managing Director, Pollination

Yatu Widders-Hunt, a proud descendant of the Dunghutti and Anaiwan Peoples from north-western New South Wales and the General Manager of Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway, is also on the board of advisors.

‘I am so proud to see this industry leading initiative, which truly reflects the values of Country Road. What I particularly love is the recognition and respect for the ongoing custodianship of Country from First Nations peoples across Australia,’’ she says.

Yatu Widders Hunt

Yatu Widders Hunt, General Manager of Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway

“Initiatives like this genuinely support community leadership, foster partnerships and invite innovation and creative thinking.’

Country Road has a goal to reach net-zero by 2040, and by 2030 is aiming to have all its Australian and New Zealand stores, and its head office and distribution centre, running on renewable energy. 

In February the group, in partnership with Kashion launched its inaugural Towards Circularity collection made with 30 per cent recycled cotton sourced from Country Road off-cuts and faulty garments which are shredded, re-spun and blended with virgin cotton. 

They were also the first Australian fashion retailer to join GCS – is rolling out a select range of The Good Cashmere Standard® certified product, with cashmere responsibly sourced from Inner Mongolia. This is in addition to their biodiversity partnership with Landcare focussed on regenerating local Australian farming communities which launched in 2020.

Applications for the fund are open now, the deadline is Thursday 1 December with grant recipients announced in April 2023. 


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