Building brands for social impact


The Foundation

The REAL Foundation inspires and realises human potential, and activates the power of ideas to ignite social leadership and transformational change. We support emerging social leaders in their respective fields through mentoring and educational programs, critical community building and professional development, while providing pathways to social enterprise, investment and the realisation of their vision.

The Foundation serves as an advocacy platform for ideas that can spark change – building movements and communities of action around the world to ignite a new global reality informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and inspired by the REAL Group’s social enterprise approach.


The REAL Foundation in focus

Design for Social Impact

One of the successes of the REAL Foundation has been seven year collaboration with the University of New South Wales School of Art and Design on our Design for Social Impact program.

The program is the brainchild of Virginia Bruce, CEO of REAL Impact, and Karina Clarke, Program Director UNSW Design (Undergraduate) and has so far nurtured and supported over 20 graduate programs.

Students in the program immerse their final degree project in a social impact framework. They are offered the opportunity to learn from industry experts on how to actualise their design through business and brand development, with a view to optimise their projects’ social and enterprise potential to the fullest.



Australia has the highest per-capita emissions of any country in the world,and our ecological footprint sits at 7 hectares per person, 4.8 hectares above the global average, and 5.2 hectares above what is actually sustainable. ‘Radia’ aims to reduce importation through the development of locally, and sustainably crafted designs. Through the use of 100% locally sourced, recycled timber, and a composite board I developed using spent leaves from eucalyptus oil production (a waste material) and bioresin, ‘Radia’ designs have the ability to shift our current cradle- grave approach to products, to a close-loop system whereby our waste materials can continue to be up-cycled or recycled.




Ownership, control and a having a sense of home severely impacts one’s self-esteem and identity. Through positively impacting these areas, effective change can take place in the life of a young person. This is where youth housing services come in; supporting young people in their independence and helping them feel back in control of their lives. Through creative engagement with their environments, their caseworkers and themselves, a promising future for young people within the housing context can be established and a fuller sense of their identity and self-worth be made clear.Thus the need to foster safe, inspiring and functional spaces within youth houses was identified. Hangwell is an affordable design solution. Strategy is buy one, give one.


The Stories Hotel is a project looking at possibilities and a social interaction platform within a hotel environment. The concept brings together two opposing travel experiences and demographics that can interact. learn and build connection with each other. It provides a platform to communicate through everyday life and intercultural storytelling.

The hotel spaces such as communal tables, kitchen and dining are places where stories can be exchanged. Through this interaction, both tourists and refugees will be encouraged to be open-minded, communicate and make new friends from other parts of the world. The hotel also serves as an employment opportunity and retraining facility in the hospitality sector for refugees, structured as a pathway that facilitates integration into their new community.



Wear It. Wear the problem. Wear the solution. Over 40 million garment workers are exploited so that you can buy cheap clothes and fashion brands can make money. Workers, including children, face excessive hours, hazardous conditions and are denied basic rights all for wages that they can’t live off. We’ve heard this before, but ignore the fact that we are the problem. We are happy to live in the illusion and ignore the impact of our choices. ‘Wear It’ aims to confront fast fashion consumers with the shocking real cost of their choice. It is a call for transparency as it encourages consumers to ask brands the hard questions. You wear the problem, but by getting informed and making ethical decisions you can wear the solution.


"There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in."

/  Desmond Tutu - Hands That Shape Humanity  /