Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and Zalando join venture fund to combat labor abuses in supply chains
Working Capital raised an additional $2.5 million from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and Zalando, increasing the Fund’s total capital to $25.2 million. The first-of-its-kind fund, Working Capital’s partners and supporters include Humanity United, Walmart Foundation, C&A Foundation, Stardust Equity, Open Society Foundations (Soros Economic Development Fund), The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, and The Walt Disney Company. The Fund is also leveraging support from the UK’s Department of International Development in “Sidecar” grant funding for pre-investment and seed-stage interventions. Although the Fund’s partners are diverse, they have come together with a common commitment to combat the systemic risk of labor abuse in supply chains.
“As leaders in their respective industries, both CIFF and Zalando will bring a unique perspective and further strengthen Working Capital’s partnership structure,” said Ed Marcum, Working Capital managing director. “The support of each of our partners signals an increased understanding that capital must be allocated to help develop efforts to better protect vulnerable workers.”
Established in 2002 and headquartered in London, CIFF is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and adolescents in developing countries. CIFF is joining the fund to further its commitment to solve problems, such as child labor, by enabling urgent transformational change.
CIFF CEO Kate Hampton said: “There is an urgent need to clean up opaque global supply chains that enable forced labor and human trafficking. Worldwide, 152 million children are victims of child labor, almost half of them working in hazardous conditions. CIFF is proud to partner with Working Capital to develop innovative solutions for making supply chains more transparent, ethical and viable.”
At the same time, Zalando, Europe’s leading online fashion platform, joined the fund in alignment with its purpose to enable supply chain transparency and capacity building.
“In line with our zIMPACT program we are supporting the fund. The Program offers visibility, funding, and expertise to industry players that use digital technology to increase supply chain transparency. At Zalando, we believe tech can be a positive force in the industry and focus our engagement in areas where we can have a systemic impact,” said Dennis Hoenig-Ohnsorg, Team Lead Corporate Responsibility at Zalando
Since its launch earlier this year, Working Capital has invested in companies that leverage technology to bring visibility and accountability to supply chains and increased agency for workers. Portfolio companies include Provenance, a blockchain platform enabling traceability; Ulula, a software and data analytics platform to engage workers; QuizRR, an EdTech company which offers training solutions to advance worker knowledge and corporate accountability; and Sundar, an ethical sourcing platform that is transforming the fashion supply chain. Working Capital is exploring how emerging technologies such as machine learning, sensors and interconnected Internet of Things solutions can be brought to bear on supply chain labor rights risks.