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Fashion's game of philanthropy to direct good intentions for maximum impact
- 13th Jun 2020
A wave of philanthropic contributions has been prompted by the Covid-19. There are several fashion brands who are weakened due to the virus-enforced shutdown and they are seeking for support, while there are several cash rich brands who are willing to offer it.
Brands like Ralf Lauren and Allbirds have started to lend a helping hand by donating a certain percentage of their profit, participating in virtual auctions as well as selling T-shirts for charity purpose.
As per CSR experts, the cash-rich brands who are willing to lend their helping hands should also consider the impact that their donation will create. How the companies are engaging themselves in philanthropy, will determine the way the consumers will perceive their brands after the global crisis is over and this will open new avenues for them to set the tone for customer loyalty. It is more important to avoid misguided donations, where the brands might miss out on helping the once who are critically in need of it. As per Tim Brown, CEO & co-founder of Allbirds, “too many brands simply put money into one-off donations without doing the work”.
As per Clare Wilkins, a consultant of New Philanthropic Capital, it is not always right decision for brands to support the trending cause, like in this case COVID-19 crisis, but their philanthropy should be aligned with their own values and purpose.
Since the beginning of this crisis, charitable organizations and trusts have received overwhelming support from fashion brands. Several brands with their established foundations have contributed to the ‘Solidarity Respond Fund’ of WHO as a part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) , where The Tiffany & Co. Foundation donated $750000 , H&M Foundation donated $ 500000 and the Graff Foundation donated $1 million, to name a few.
Ralph Lauren has successfully chosen charities that are in alignment with their own values and purpose by providing a sustainable support. They have pledged a fund of more than $ 10 million that will be split among WHO’s Solidarity Respond Fund, CFDA Fashion Fund for Covid-19 (of Vogue) and their own cancer care charities. Ralph Lauren has been working on their cancer care support for more than two decades. Other than these they are also allocated an emergency grant for their employees who are facing any special issues. As per David Lauren, chief innovation officer and head of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, “We tailored our approach to focus on areas where we could leverage our connections and expertise.”
While top companies like Kering, LVMH and Ralph Lauren have contributed a lot towards charity, smaller brands have also come up with innovative solutions to channelize their charity funds. French brand, Emmaus Connect have come up with an idea to provide Wi-Fi and computers to over 10000 children and to over 5000 immigrants in France during the pandemic.
Several smaller fashion brands are also donating a certain percentage of their online profit. In this way they can contribute to charity while maintaining their own survival. This also increases customer awareness of the cause they are supporting by buying online.