The Laudes Foundation emerged from the C&A Foundation in 2020. It has offices across Europe and Asia. Building on six generations of entrepreneurship, responsible business ownership and private philanthropy, the Laudes Foundation aims for a climate-positive and inclusive economy. In 2021, the foundation’s active portfolio of grants totalled 220 million EUR.
Chief Executive Officer
Neither climate change nor rising inequality can be fully tackled before our broken economic system is fixed and the rules of the game have changed. For this reason, advocacy for policy change is one of the Laudes Foundation's six approaches. With this funding strategy, the Foundation seeks to create the carrots and sticks to nudge better corporate behaviour.
Often, legislation is drafted in closed rooms without the input of those most impacted (workers, farmers, communities). Therefore, the most effective role that philanthropy can play in supporting Political Advocacy is to make sure that all critical voices are heard.
Application in Practice
The Laudes Foundation supports a wide range of partners to work on different facets of Political Advocacy for the shared goal of changing the rules of the economic system. These goals include:
- creating new narratives around the desired change;
- building industry roadmaps with clear roles for policymakers at all levels (EU, national, city);
- gathering credible evidence and data to make the case for change;
- building coalitions of civil society changemakers to advocate for the change; and
- crafting incentives and disincentives for change.
Through its grants, the Laudes Foundation seeks to influence policies and regulatory frameworks which enable and compel climate-positive and equitable practices while prohibiting and sanctioning climate-negative and unjust practices.
One successful example is Laudes Foundation’s funding of the Economic Change Unit (ECU) to lead a series of advocacy activities, policy development work, and media interventions. In the UK, the Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer relied on the figures provided by Laudes and ECU when supporting a freeze on energy price caps.
The Laudes Foundations’ interactive theory of change outlines how the foundation envisions to create change in both the short-term (e.g. influencing policy makers) and the long-term (e.g. business starts to change, counter-lobbying thwarted).
What has worked well?
- Be prepared for the long run: Legislative processes can take years, and for funders (and their partners) to be credible, you need to invest in expert teams who have the time and agency to bring policymakers along.
- Use political momentum: Political priorities offer windows for opportunity. For example, the European Green Deal and the growing imperative around corporate sustainability provide a political impetus to influence other longer-term goals such as mandatory human rights, corporate sustainability reporting and fair decarbonisation.
- Consider whether you want to go direct or indirect: Laudes Foundation has chosen to work indirectly through its 50+ partners, each of whom bring deep expertise and gravitas. Other funders work directly and very effectively. Keep in mind that different operating models also require different staffing models.
What are opportunities for new funders?
- Include all voices: Philanthropic efforts in Political Advocacy tend to neglect the inclusion of marginalised people. Ensure that groups of people such as youth, workers, farmers, vulnerable people etc. are given a seat at the negotiating table, as they are often among those most affected by the consequences of climate policies.