Australia's first fashion industry
climate fund

The Country Road Climate Fund

Together we can build a positive future.
In 2022, we launched the Climate Fund to drive climate solutions in the fashion industry.
We've committed to $1.5 million in grant funding in its first three years.

How you can take part

Each year, we call for grassroots projects that mitigate climate change and build climate resilience across four key pillars.

Applications have now closed and will reopen in 2024.

1

Biodiversity

Protecting and restoring nature

Your project could be

A conservation project on a wool farm aimed at improving the state of biodiversity.

2

First Nations

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led projects and partnerships.

Your project could be

A First Nations organisation working with local cotton farmers to implement traditional land management practices.

3

Innovation

Protecting and restoring nature

Your project could be

A technology that dramatically improves the carbon footprint of local manufacturing.

4

Circularity

Reimagining the textile lifecycle

Your project could be

A project that enables garment renewal or on-shore textile recycling.

FAQ

The Country Road Climate Fund is an annual climate impact grants program aimed at accelerating and incubating positive climate projects, programs, initiatives, products or organisations ('projects') across the Australian fashion industry. The Country Road Climate Fund is split into the Incubator Program and the Accelerator Program. Projects can apply to either (but not both) of these programs.

If you are unable to satisfy each of these criteria, we do not recommend that you apply. The allocation of grants will be at the discretion of Country Road Clothing Pty Ltd.

Eligibility criteria for 2023 submissions:

Applicant
  • Applicant must have an ABN
  • Applicant must be an Australian resident/Australian registered company
  • Applicant must be registered for GST
Impact

The project has a positive, and quantifiable, climate impact outcome (i.e. the project directly or indirectly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, or supports the enablement of such reductions).

In addition to a climate impact outcome, the project has a positive impact outcome aligned to at least one of the Country Road Climate Fund's other impact themes

  • Biodiversity
  • Circularity
  • First Nations (applicant must be majority First Nations owned or operated)
  • Innovation
Scope
  • The project operates from within Australia
  • The project is situated within the fashion value chain
Program
A project can apply for either (but not both of) the Incubator Program or the Accelerator Program.

The project is eligible for the Incubator Program.

Available to not-for-profits or for profit organisations with:

  • less than 15 employees;
  • less than AU$250,000 in net assets; and
  • annual revenue of less than AU$250,000

Based on FY23 financial reports

You will be required to provide evidence against each of the above criteria (i.e. employee number, net assets and annual revenue) to Country Road.

The project is eligible for the Accelerator Program.

The Accelerator Program is available to the following organisations which are too large to qualify for the Incubator Program on at least one of the net assets or annual revenue criteria:

  1. registered:
    • not-for-profits
    • co-operatives
    • social enterprises*
  2. universities (if that university is undertaking an industry project with tangible application of outcomes or 'knowledge translation' relevant to the fashion industry)

Based on FY23 financial reports

For example, if your organisation is a social enterprise that has $225,000 in net assets, annual revenue of $1,000,000 and 10 employees your organisation would be eligible for the Accelerator Program. This organisation's annual revenue means it is too large for the Incubator Program.

You will be required to provide evidence of your type of entity and evidence of meeting each of the above criteria (i.e. net assets and annual revenue) to Country Road.

* If your organisation is a social enterprise you will be required to show third party verification of social enterprise status or membership to a voluntary social enterprise body. For example, certification by Social Traders.

Project or applicant activities

The grant funding will go towards new project activities which will commence from July 2024.

Existing projects will be considered where applicants can demonstrate that grant funds will facilitate a genuine expansion of project scope and outcomes will be additional to those currently being achieved.

The applicant and project do not and will not operate* or participate in any fields or activities which Country Road deems or considers illegal, obscene or inappropriate including but not limited to tobacco, alcohol or other addictive substances, firearms, fossil fuels, gambling, pornography or hate.

* “operate” includes direct operations in addition to receipt of funds from the fields or activities stated above.

The applicant has read and agrees to sign and be bound by the terms of the Funding Agreement.

Not-for-profit

Country Road utilises the Australian Taxation Office definition of a not-for-profit, being an organisation that provide services to the community and do not operate to make a profit for its members or shareholders.

Source: ATO

Social enterprise

Social enterprises are businesses that serve a social purpose. These enterprises are established and operate to benefit the broader community and environment rather than just shareholders. Most profits from a social enterprise are directed towards this social mission.

Source: Business Queensland, Social Enterprise Australia, Business Victoria

If your organisation is a social enterprise you will be required to show third party verification of social enterprise status or membership to a voluntary social enterprise body. For example, certification by Social Traders.

Co-operative

Country Road utilises the Australian Government definition of a co-operative, being a legally incorporated entity designed to serve the interests of its members. The co-operative needs to have at least five members.

Source: Business Australia

University

Universities are higher education providers who offer Australian higher education qualifications.

Universities are able to apply as the lead applicant for the Accelerator Program in 2023 if that university is undertaking an industry project with tangible application of outcomes or 'knowledge translation' relevant to the fashion industry.

An applicant (organisation or individual) must be registered for GST to be eligible.

In October 2022, Country Road announced Australia's first fashion industry climate fund, pledging $1.5 million over three years. Grants will be allocated to projects aligned to the Country Road Climate Fund's objectives, with up to AU$500,000 allocated each year.

  • The indicative maximum grant amount under the Incubator Program is AU$30,000.
  • The indicative maximum grant amount under the Accelerator Program is AU$200,000.

A project can apply for either (but not both of) the Incubator Program or the Accelerator Program. Grant funding for 2023 submissions will be paid in quarterly instalments, commencing from July 2024. Payments are made on the basis that the recipient has met agreed Key Performance Indicators for the previous quarter.

The number and size of the grants will be subject to Country Road's discretion and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

In the interests of supporting long-term, sustainable impact, previously successful grant recipients may be able to renew their funding in subsequent years for multi-year projects if they can demonstrate that grant funds will facilitate a genuine expansion of project scope and outcomes will be additional to those currently being achieved.

The maximum grant amount does not include GST.

The Country Road Climate Fund is an annual grants program aimed at accelerating and incubating positive climate projects, programs, initiatives, products or organisations ('projects') across the Australian fashion industry.

The Country Road Climate Fund was created as part of Country Road's responsible business journey which strives to drive positive change across climate, nature, and community within our own operations, and also through building positive outcomes in our value chain and beyond.

We recognise that the fashion industry is a direct and indirect contributor to the climate crisis. While there are many existing and innovative climate fashion solutions, many of these solutions lack the finance to be developed or deployed across the fashion industry. The aim of the Country Road Climate Fund is to bridge this financing gap by investing in, incubating and accelerating climate solutions in the Australian fashion industry.

Launched in October 2022 Country Road is investing $1.5 million in grant funding to projects aligned to the Country Road Climate Fund's objectives in its first three years, with up to $500,000 allocated each year. The number and size of the grants will be subject to Country Road's discretion and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

The Country Road Climate Fund's investment themes, scope and programs have been designed to enable Country Road to maximise its ability to drive climate solutions in the Australian fashion industry.

Investment themes:

  • Climate focus: The Country Road Climate Fund's primary mandate is to invest in projects which have a positive climate impact (i.e. the project directly or indirectly reduces greenhouse gas emissions or supports the enablement of such reductions). For example, a project that improves energy efficiency in the production of textiles may directly reduce greenhouse gases. A project that provides brands with accurate data on the emissions intensity of different materials/processes, may enable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of products by supporting more informed design choices.
  • Sub-themes: The Country Road Climate Fund recognises that climate outcomes can be achieved through nature-based, circular, First Nations-led and innovative solutions. Therefore, the Fund is also targeted at investing in projects which align with one or more of the following sub-themes:
    • Biodiversity - Protecting or restoring nature and biodiversity (for example, a conservation project on a wool farm aimed at improving the state of biodiversity)
    • Circularity - Reimagining the textile life cycle from a take, make and dispose mindset to one which redefines the value of waste, keeping existing resources in use for as long as possible (for example, a project that enables garment renewal or on-shore textile recycling)
    • First Nations - Led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (for example, a First Nations organisation working with local cotton farmers to implement traditional land management practices that drive positive climate outcomes)
    • Innovation - Unique, disruptive, and game-changing technologies and ideas shifting the face of the fashion industry (for example, a technology that dramatically improves the carbon footprint of finishing or dyeing techniques)
  • Co-benefits: Alongside alignment with the Country Road Climate Fund's primary climate theme and sub-themes, projects which demonstrate strong co-benefits will be strongly preferred. This includes projects which promote the following co-benefits:
    • Industry collaboration
    • Provenance, accountability, and transparency, for example:
      • Provenance: a project developing a technology that allows better visibility of the place of origin for fashion products;
      • Accountability: a non-profit project to promote actors in the textile value chain being more accountable for their environmental impact; or
      • Transparency: a project promoting greater transparency of environmental and social performance in the fashion industry.

The Country Road Climate Fund is bound by the following parameters:

  • Australian-focused: In the Country Road Climate Fund's first and second year, Country Road will be funding projects operating from within Australia.
  • Fashion value chain: The Country Road Climate Fund is aimed at providing funding to projects situated within the fashion value chain. Eligible projects may be within or have the potential to come within Country Road's own value chain. Projects which are focused on generating positive climate impacts within the raw materials production, materials processing and manufacturing stages of the fashion value chain will be prioritised. This is to account for the disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated throughout these stages.

A project can apply for either (but not both of) the Incubator Program or the Accelerator Program.

Program

The project is eligible for the Incubator Program.

Available to not-for-profits or for profit organisations with:

  • less than 15 employees;
  • less than AU$250,000 in net assets; and
  • annual revenue of less that AU$250,000

Based on FY23 financial reports

You will be required to provide evidence against each of the above criteria (i.e. employee number, net assets and annual revenue) to Country Road.

The project is eligible for the Accelerator Program.

The Accelerator Program is available to the following organisations which are too large to qualify for the Incubator Program on at least one of the net assets or annual revenue criteria:

  • registered:
    • not-for-profits
    • co-operatives
    • social enterprises*
  • universities (if that university is undertaking an industry project with tangible application of outcomes or 'knowledge translation' relevant to the fashion industry)

Based on FY23 financial reports

For example, if your organisation is a social enterprise that has $225,000 in net assets, annual revenue of $1,000,000 and 10 employees your organisation would be eligible for the Accelerator Program. This organisation's annual revenue means it is too large for the Incubator Program.

You will be required to provide evidence of your type of entity and evidence of meeting each of the above criteria (i.e. net assets and annual revenue) to Country Road.

* If your organisation is a social enterprise you will be required to show third party verification of social enterprise status or membership to a voluntary social enterprise body. For example, certification by Social Traders.

Grants under both Programs are philanthropic and as such, Country Road is not seeking any financial returns, equity in the project or direct commercial benefit to its business.

All project applications will be assessed through a rigorous process (see below) and against the following criteria:

  • Eligibility of the project
  • Alignment with the Country Road Climate Fund's objective, themes and scope
  • Potential for the project to create positive impact
  • Financial and practical feasibility of the project
  • Capacity of the project team to implement the project
  • Whether winning the grant would make a difference to the outcomes of the project

The Country Road Climate Fund selection process will be as follows:

Step Timeline
1 Applications open Monday 9 October 2023
2 Application deadline 11.59pm Thursday 30 November 2023
3 High-level assessment of applications, shortlist selected December 2023 - January 2024
4 Additional information requested of shortlisted projects February 2024
5 Assessment committee, preferred project list identified March 2024
6 In-depth due diligence and Key Performance Indicators set March - April 2024
7 Successful projects undertake contracting with Country Road
Unsuccessful applicants notified
May 2024
8 Initial funding released to recipients Prior to 1 July 2024

A project can apply for either (but not both of) the Incubator Program or the Accelerator Program. If you are unable to satisfy the eligibility criteria, we do not recommend that you fill out and submit an application.

Projects which are focused on generating positive climate impacts within the raw materials production, materials processing and manufacturing stages of the fashion value chain will be prioritised. This is to account for the disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated throughout these stages.

The fund is particularly interested in projects that have the potential to drive industry-wide change, where processes have the potential to be applied across the sector more broadly, rather than being limited to one brand.

Sole traders are eligible to apply, as long as they meet the 2023 eligibility criteria.

Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified by May 2024.

For further information please contact climatefund@countryroad.com.au