What is equity?
Equity is when we aim for fairness and justice, in both process and results. We realise that people need different things to succeed. While equality focuses on the sameness of treatment, equity goes further. It recognises that some of us might be at a disadvantage, or face barriers in access to opportunities and resources.
So, with equity, we mitigate social disparities by removing barriers to equal opportunity. An equitable workplace provides fair opportunities based on different co-worker needs, backgrounds and circumstances, so that everyone can reach their full potential.
Why is equity so important for C&A?
We don’t all have the same social or economic advantages in life. For example, where we come from, how our parents lived, or what our social position is; these things affect our access to resources such as education, jobs or housing. Any advantages, or lack thereof, often get passed from one generation to the next.
Moreover, we can face pre-existing barriers. These can also play out in the workplace. For example, some of us are impacted by unconscious biases in hiring and promotions, or lack access to information and professional networks, despite our talent and skills. This affects people belonging to underrepresented and historically marginalised groups.
An approach based on equity is beneficial to all individuals, but it also aims to solve structural imbalances. With our 2028 Strategy, we have started the work at C&A to embed equity in all people and business processes, promoting positive change internally, and within broader society.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is when everyone can be their authentic self and feel like they belong.
Inclusion means that we create an environment where every person feels valued for their unique qualities and contribution. It means we invite and encourage different ideas and opinions, and we embrace diversity. We make conscious efforts to take everyone into account, and include everyone in our conversations and decisions.
Inclusion is what allows us to leverage our differences, creating a supportive climate where we can thrive – as individuals, as teams, and as a company.
Why is inclusion so important for C&A?
All human beings share a social need to feel included – regardless of how we identify, or whether we belong to a majority or to a minoritised group.
Each one of us has probably experienced exclusion at some point in our life – being left out or not appreciated for who we are. At work, it can show up in different ways. Perhaps we are not made part an important conversation or process, to the same extent as our peers. Or we are given less space to talk in meetings. Some of us are ignored, unfairly rejected or subjected to constant scrutiny.
These experiences undermine co-worker well-being, engagement and motivation. Besides being harmful to the individual, exclusion negatively affects the wider surroundings as well. A team that is not inclusive is more prone to costly errors; it is less creative and innovative, and less productive.
With our 2028 Strategy, we are strengthening a corporate culture where everyone feels included.
Human Rights and Equity Policy
Care for people and respect for nature have always been essential for C&A. Whilst it is the duty of governments to protect and enforce human rights, we recognise our responsibility to respect human rights and actively prevent, mitigate, and remediate any potential negative impact on people. We strive to play a positive role for a world where human rights and equity are enjoyed by everyone.
Our Commitment to Human Rights and Equity
We are committed to establishing and promoting a culture of respect for internationally recognised human rights as set out by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We commit to adhering to the International Bill of Human Rights (i.e., the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), the principles of the UN Global Compact and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, throughout our own operations, business relationships and supply chain.
We base our commitments on the standards contained in the international conventions and recommendations reflected in each section of this human rights policy. We also adhere to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector.
We attach particular importance to respecting the rights of children, women and people belonging to historically marginalised groups.
In this, we are guided by the international rights standards, outlined, among others, by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, the Gender Guidance to the UNGPs, the UN Standards of Conduct for Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people.
We comply, at a minimum, with the laws and regulations of the countries in which we do business, while we follow international human rights standards brought forward in the present policy when these standards are higher. In the event of local laws restricting the realisation of the international human rights standards, we will work to create alternative means to uphold those standards. Read more