Latest Press Releases
Our approach on sustainability
At C&A, we believe everyone should be able to look and feel good every day, without compromising the quality of life of those who make our clothes, or the planet we source from. We want our customers to trust us to do the right thing, so they can buy our products without having to choose between what’s sustainable and what’s not.
We want our Fashion to have a positive impact: Made with more sustainable materials, fewer natural resources and with respect for animal welfare. Made by empowered women and men who are treated with fairness and dignity and in environments that are safe. And it means providing a new purpose for clothing at the end of its useful life.
Sustainability means rethinking how we design our products for their next life. We want to move towards an apparel industry that uses and reuses safe materials, protects ecosystems and provides dignified work for people. We believe in ‘circular fashion’. Our vision is to move toward a restorative circular economy, where nothing is wasted in the creation or disposal of our clothing. We are partnering with ‘Fashion for Good’ to bring this aspiration to life.
`We were the world’s first fashion retailer to produce and sell a GOLD level Cradle-to-Cradle Certified (TM) garment which is made of 100% organic cotton certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS),made with safe and biodegradable materials and chemicals and produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way. If you are interested in our C2C products, please read more here.
The transition to a fully circular apparel industry will be challenging and will require time and a holistic systems approach. Important steps on this journey are the development of an effective collection and sorting system around the globe, the support of innovative start-ups and the development of new cycling technologies and the use of recycled materials in our clothing.
Our sustainability work
Our sustainability work is focused on areas that are the most relevant for our business and where we can have the biggest impact – our products, our supply chain and peoples’ lives. These three pillars of our strategy are supported by concrete 2020 sustainability goals to drive progress forward.
Our clothing is made from a wide variety of raw materials, including natural fibres such as cotton, down, linen or wool, as well as synthetic fibres such as polyester, and man-made cellulosics like viscose. Ensuring they’re more sustainable means the materials are grown and manufactured in ways that use fewer natural resources, respect nature and people, and ensure the welfare of animals throughout the supply chain.
In 2017 Textile Exchange named us for the fifth time the largest buyer of certified organic cotton globally. In 2015 we joined the Better Cotton Initiative(BCI) and helped to found the Organic Cotton Accelerator to help create a prosperous, stable market for organic and more sustainable cotton that benefits everyone.
Today** (** February 2018), already more than 70% of the cotton we source is certified organic cotton or grown as Better Cotton. Read more about our organic cotton or Bio Cotton – here In 2020 we aim for 100% of our cotton to be more sustainable and 67% of all of our raw materials to be sourced from more sustainable sources.
For the love of fashion
Watch a 5 minutes summary of the National Geographic documentary “For the love of Fashion” on issues and challenges of more sustainable cotton.
Our customers' health, safety, and enjoyment of our products is vital. We work hard to ensure product quality and safety, aiming to meet or exceed industry standards, legal requirements and our customers' expectations. We also collaborate with others in our industry to raise standards across the apparel sector.
C&A has a long-standing commitment to high standards of animal welfare. We believe that animals should be treated with care, respect and dignity, as per the Five Freedoms.
In the last 10 years we have worked hard to promote animal welfare. We have banned fur and angora many years ago and today sell only 100% RDS-certified down. Our animal welfare policy brings our work together and underlines our strong commitment to how animals are cared for in our supply chain. Read our animal welfare policy here
Learn more about how we're building sustainable products and working in collaboration.
Our supply chain encompasses more than 1 million people, employed through 788 global suppliers, who run more than 2,400 production units across may different countries and cultures. We focus on two main areas: ensuring that the people who make our clothes are safe and treated fairly and with dignity, and that we foster and support a clean environment to support healthy communities.
Being transparent is key: We need to create traceability and accountability across the apparel industry’s supply chains. We have published all of our suppliers’ tier-1 and tier-2 factories* around the globe and promote a culture of transparency, integrity and responsibility, by being open and honest with how our products are made, where our materials are sourced from and who makes them. We committed to the Transparency Pledge.
Working with our suppliers to Improve conditions on the ground
What we expect of suppliers is clearly laid out and communicated through our Supplier Code of Conduct and Supporting Guidelines and checked using regular audits by our Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) team, comprised of over 100 auditors worldwide. We have defined a clear list of zero-tolerance issues.
The C&A SSC team audits production units and supports them on their continuous improvement journey.
We believe that safe and fair working conditions should be the norm for all garment workers, not just the ones that work in our suppliers' factories. That’s why we are using our influence to build capacity across our supply chain, striving to normalise good practices and to create convergence with other brands and multi stakeholder initiatives.
We continue to seek out and eradicate practices such as excessive overtime, undisclosed subcontracting and restrictions to freedom of association. We have identified four priority challenges that significantly affect the working conditions in our supply chain: building and fire safety, freedom of association, undisclosed production and working hours and compensation. We have created long-term engagement strategies for each challenge and work in partnership with other leading organisations and NGOs to drive change across the industry, such as Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT), the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. We regularly work with organisations such as Human Rights Watch, the Dutch Textile Covenant, the German Textilbündnis, the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and several others.
Learn more about how we're developing sustainable supply chains.
*except for concession shoes in Europe
C&A is a global retail fashion company that touches the lives of nearly 60,000 employees, 1 million of our suppliers' workers and over 3 million customers every day. What we do – and the way we do it – has a significant impact on many different groups of people. We focus on strengthening communities, promoting positive actions and giving back to local communities.
We seek to empower our employees to be sustainability ambassadors in our stores and enable our customers to undertake more sustainable actions. With our flagship employee engagement campaign Inspiring Women we recognise that women are the driving force behind the apparel industry and our brand: 80% of our employees are women, and approximately the same percentage is true of the workers in our supply chain and the customers who shop with us.
We conduct consumer insights studies to better understand customer motivations, perceptions, and preferences about sustainability. We also launch campaigns on our products made from more sustainable materials such as organic cotton or our more sustainable product lines in the #wearthechange collection.
Creating fashion with a positive impact doesn't end with our employees and customers. It extends into the communities where C&A colleagues, customers and garment workers live too. We’ll foster more sustainable lives in these communities, through safe, fair, resilient and inspiring work environments where everyone feels connected, and able to take action.
Our customers shouldn't have to choose between looking good, feeling good and doing good. They deserve great fashion that's also good for the people who make their clothes, and good for the environment. No decision or trade-off should be necessary and at no extra cost to the customer. Sustainability has to become the new normal.
Learn more about our initiatives in the area sustainable life.