The ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund has invested in WAAR Netherlands, a Dutch social retail chain that exclusively sells sustainable articles from fair trade and other social enterprises. The chain has grown in recent years, bucking the downward retail sales trend, from 10 shops in 2013 to 17 now. WAAR aims to grow to 48 shops by the end of 2018.
Eric Buckens, Director of ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund: “WAAR is an important new investment for us, because the chain is contributing considerably to the development of the social enterprise market. Many social entrepreneurs offer special products that help make the world a better place, but they often have difficulty finding sales and distribution possibilities. WAAR offers them a platform. When the Social Impact Fund makes new investments, we look mainly at companies with innovative business models that are developing the market. WAAR is a prime example of such a business.”
Alec Clement, CEO of WAAR Netherlands: “WAAR believes that we need to change our buying behaviour and how we use products. We are rapidly changing the climate and depleting natural resources. Plus, the world is facing serious social challenges. For example, many producers and suppliers in developing countries still receive unacceptably low wages. WAAR wants to make a difference by offering a sustainable range of goods. All of our products are produced sustainably and are fair trade products, organic, ecological, recycled and/or manufactured by social enterprises. We will use ABN AMRO’s investment to increase the number of shops and offering, and we can further develop the WAAR brand. We will be opening a large shop in Tilburg in mid-October. This is a new milestone, as we will be selling food at this shop too.”
Social Impact Fund
The ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund invests via direct participations in companies with a social goal and a dual profit motive: social/sustainable and financial. The ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund has in the past invested in SCOPEinsight, Beebox, Energy Floors, Big Move, Nudge and SIB/Buzinezzclub (in collaboration with the city of Rotterdam).