The charitable foundation of Amancio Ortega, who currently occupies the number five spot on Forbes’ richest individuals in the world list and owns Spanish fast fashion giant, Zara, is said to spend 320 million euros ($344 million) to acquire the latest breast cancer-screening technology for public hospitals across Spain. According to Reuters, this will mark “the biggest outlay to date by the Amancio Ortega Foundation, which is funded by dividend payments from Ortega's nearly 60 percent stake in Inditex, the world's biggest fashion retailer and owner of the Zara chain.”
The foundation, which was established in 2001 with proceeds from Inditex's stock market flotation, has already acquired machines for screening and radio therapy treatment of breast cancer in hospitals in Galicia (which Ortega calls home) and Andalusia, and with this donation will extend the scheme to public hospitals throughout Spain. Past donations have gone towards scholarships for students to study abroad and the building of early learning centers in Galicia.
The charitable foundation paints a drastically different picture from reports that as recently as this fall, Zara and its fellow Inditex subsidiaries, were offering garments and accessories made in sweatshops around the world, including by Syrian refugee children in Turkey, who were working long hours and being paid well below the minimum wage in the respective countries. The recent reports come on the heels of earlier government investigations that uncovered that the retailer was subjecting workers to “slave labor” conditions in South America.