More Sustainable Choices
Enable customers to make sustainable choices by increasing transparency around our products and business
Our journey towards greater transparency started in 2015. Today, we are glad to see our customers endorse this way of working and ask for even more transparency about where and how our clothes are made and how the people who make them are treated. We have committed to an unprecedented level of openness and honesty, starting with transparency about our supply chain.
Building on our continued approach to engaging customers through Wear the Change, we aim to further empower our customers to make more sustainable purchasing choices through informing them about the sustainability attributes of the products we sell, our supply chain and the way we do business. We will ensure our in-store labels, in-store communications and online shop show these sustainable products clearly. We want to offer even more sustainable products backed by credible, certified standards, so customers know they make a responsible choice at C&A.
FUTURE ACTIONS in C&A Europe will include:
- Our products: we are exploring use of product hangtags that provide more detailed information about a product’s origin, including fibres, production, and sustainability certifications. We are also integrating more product sustainability information in our online shop and looking into reusable packaging.
- Our brand: with our peers, we are shifting towards use of an industry brand score to enable customers to readily compare C&A’s sustainability performance with other brands, including materials sourcing practices, and supply chain procedures and policies, among others.
- Our supply chain: C&A supports the Transparency Pledge. Additionally, we were one of the first retailers to disclose the location of our global suppliers' tier 1 (cut-make-trim and all finishing processes) and most of our tier 2 factories (mills) through our own site and the Open Apparel Registry. This groundbreaking tool, which maps garment facilities worldwide, is becoming the consistent source for identifying apparel facilities and their aﬃliations. We will work towards linking this level of transparency with our products so customers know where they are made.
Continue reading for more about how we are enabling customers to make sustainable choices.
Circular fashion options
C&A has been a leader in pioneering circular fashion solutions and incorporating circular design principles into our apparel. Part of our new commitment to customers includes providing even more recycled and recyclable or compostable clothing options, such as through our Cradle to Cradle Certified apparel and ‘we take it back’ garment collection programme.
Wear the Change
We bring sustainability to life for customers through our Wear the Change campaign. While Wear the Change began as a sustainability initiative, C&A adopted it as a corporate-wide campaign in 2020 in Europe and as the identifier for our global 2028 Sustainability Strategy. This reflects how deeply our sustainability journey is integrated with our everyday business. C&A cares about sustainability at every level of our operations, and Wear the Change exemplifies this commitment, building on our sustainable fashion foundation of the past decade and driving us forward. In stores and online, Wear the Change helps customers ﬁnd the products they want with the conﬁdence they have been produced and sourced sustainably, and offers information about other sustainability initiatives, too.
Read more about Wear The Change
Communicating with our customers
Our annual sustainability customer insights survey, in partnership with GlobeScan, helps us listen to and act on the issues that matter most to our customers. The insights we gain from the survey guide how we speak to our customers about sustainability in our products and campaigns. We focus on their concerns, including their desire for greater openness and honesty about our business practices and how and where our products are made, as well as sustainable materials in our products. Importantly, the results also informed our 2028 sustainability strategy, which includes objectives and targets to provide customers with even more sustainable products made in a safe and respectful environment.
Our communication approaches are localised to ensure we are talking to our regional customers about issues they care about—so they have the information they need to make more sustainable purchasing choices. We learned years ago that although there are some diﬀerences between countries, some core issues are important to everyone. For example, consumers in Germany and the Netherlands consider ‘sourcing raw materials responsibly’ a priority, but is not equally important for consumers in all countries. We’ve developed core global messaging with customisations and translations to communicate with customers across C&A retail markets.
C&A Europe sustainability hub
All of our sustainability achievements should be visible to our consumers, not just those directly related to our current products. The new C&A Europe Sustainability Hub, known as ‘Sustainability Made Easy’, is part of our e-shop environment which makes it even easier for customers to learn more about our achievements. From the significant progress we’ve made towards 100% more sustainable cotton and recycled materials, to the C&A ‘we take it back’ programme which promotes circular fashion by accepting unwanted clothes and using their fabric to produce new items, the hub is a central resource for consumers who have questions about our initiatives in sustainable fashion.
Continually improve the wellbeing of workers and workers' rights in our supply chain
The supply chain supporting the C&A brand encompasses over 772,000 people across many diﬀerent countries and cultures. Improving their lives requires a holistic approach to make sure they are safe, healthy, satisfied, and engaged at work. C&A’s priority is to invest in long-term relationships with strategic suppliers who share our values and are committed to comprehensive worker wellbeing. To ensure this, we maintain and keep updated our Supplier Code of Conduct. We also communicate and collaborate with suppliers via our Fairness Channels, which are hotlines where workers can report compliance concerns. These practices not only improve workers’ lives, but also strengthen our supply chain.
FUTURE ACTIONS in C&A Europe will include:
- Leveraging ongoing initiatives: we are implementing our roadmaps for C&A’s Workplace Dialogue Framework and Women’s Empowerment Principles.
- Collaborating with suppliers: we will continue working with suppliers who share C&A’s values on improvements that enhance the well-being of their workforce.
- Rethinking existing approaches: we have begun revamping the Supplier Ownership Program with a focus on simplicity, impact, and worker participation, while also driving further supplier involvement
- Aligning with guidance: we will review and refine C&A’s worker well-being program to align with OECD Due Diligence Guidance for responsible supply chains in the garment and footwear sector, including a clear scope for upstream supply chain to raw material source.
Continue reading for more about how we are improving worker wellbeing.
A holistic approach
For us, a key part of sustainability is offering clothing made in safe and fair working conditions. Supplier compliance with our requirements is the starting point, not the ultimate goal: we must collaborate with suppliers and their factories to create positive change benefitting workers across the industry. What we expect of suppliers is clearly laid out and communicated through our Supplier Code of Conduct, which is also informed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Other guidelines and covenants we use to manage risk throughout our supply chain:
• Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) initiative, of which C&A was a founding member
• Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile
• German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles
• OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the garment and footwear sector
• Sustainable Apparel Coalition
We update our Code of Conduct as appropriate, and if there are breaches, we invite suppliers, C&A employees, and workers in supplier factories to let us know through our Fairness Channels, where concerns can be escalated anonymously.
Building capacity for long-term relationships
When it comes to evaluating suppliers on sustainability, our ﬁrst guiding principle is transparency, supported by capacity building. Sustainability criteria make up 20% of our overall supplier scorecard rating and have the same weight as price, quality, delivery, and product execution. Each production unit is rated from A to E, with A being the highest rating, based on our Supplier Code of Conduct. Production units rated A and B are those with no serious violations. New suppliers and production units must be able to demonstrate they meet our sustainability criteria, and if needed, make improvements before they can start working with us.
In cases where suppliers and the factories do not comply with our Code of Conduct, we work with them to improve. Unless the non-compliances are serious and of a zero-tolerance nature, we maintain our business relationship to avoid unintended consequences to workers and aim for a responsible exit plan if necessary.
Our zero-tolerance criteria
To continually drive the right behaviour, we update our protocols every year to raise the bar on our standards over time. We maintain a list of issues we consider zero-tolerance criteria. Of these, the majority are related to the health, safety, wellbeing, compensation, and treatment of workers in the supply chain. Read our zero-tolerance issues
Lasting supply chain improvements
In 2020, we shifted our supplier monitoring programme away from C&A-specific auditing protocols to an industry-wide approach that is becoming widely adopted—the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP) Converged Assessment Framework (CAF). We understand suppliers can experience audit fatigue when individual apparel companies use diﬀerent monitoring tools and perform multiple factory audits over the year. Not only does this approach overwhelm suppliers, but the audits do not always lead to measurable improvement in working conditions.
SLCP: Apparel industry convergence
We believe—as do other brands in the fashion industry as well as many of our stakeholders—that we must achieve consistency and convergence among our peers and use standardised tools to increase the quality of our data, the eﬃciency of our actions, and therefore, the rate of change. Our use of the SLCP CAF to gather information about suppliers provides a useful baseline to help them improve, provides greater industry standardization, and boosts supplier accountability.
The CAF is a three-step assessment process. First, suppliers report their own data by completing a self-assessment using the Data Collection Tool. Next, an SLCP verifier checks the self-assessment for accuracy. This yields data about the supplier which is factually correct but does not formally score or rank performance. Lastly, the SLCP-verified self-assessment is made available to various stakeholders.
Moving away from auditing and toward the SLCP CAF brings several benefits. It creates conditions for suppliers to take more responsibility for performance and allows us to collaborate with other brands for supplier training. Importantly, it also affords our team more time for capability building with suppliers. Where our team members previously spent their time in factories conducting audits, they now use that time to work with suppliers to raise awareness of key requirements, answer questions, provide training, and build an even stronger relationship. Use of the SLCP CAF also enhances consistency across the fashion industry and will ultimately improve factory social performance.
Honouring worker voices
Throughout the apparel industry we need to hear more from the workers themselves, not just from management. We joined Better Work in 2020 to help us do just that. This International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) initiative engages with governments and brands in nine countries to improve working conditions for factory employees. One of Better Work’s guiding principles is to offer workers greater ownership over their workplace by honouring worker voices. The organisation also provides advisory services to factories as well as unions with the aim of giving workers a greater say in their lives, collaborates with governments to improve labour laws, and works with brands to help ensure progress is sustained. C&A’s involvement with both SLCP and Better Work contributes to greater convergence in the apparel industry, which is good for workers, suppliers, and fashion brands alike.
C&A has a good overview of its supply chain, with 100% transparency of cut and sew, wet processing, printing, and embroidery units, which applies to units from all direct suppliers as well as importers. We also have oversight of a considerable proportion of fabric and spinning mills and can estimate the country of origin for 85% of our raw materials. Our certified organic cotton can be traced to the farm group.
Supplier Ownership Programme
More needs to be done to normalise good practice across the entire industry. That's why we are moving beyond auditing and compliance to build our suppliers’ capacity and empower their workers to act. In many places, workers are simply not accustomed to being able to inﬂuence decision-making. Our Supplier Ownership Programme (SOP) includes a strong focus on the ownership and accountability of suppliers to responsibly manage their labour practices, on dialogue with factory workers, and on capacity building and management systems to drive success. This is supported by capacity building programmes amongst workers, giving them the support they need to report and act on key issues aﬀecting them. The 2020 pandemic posed challenges to the programme, since travel was curtailed and suppliers experienced some financial hardships. With help from our SLCP and Better Work partnerships, C&A plans to create more opportunities to hear more from factory workers themselves instead of consulting with managers exclusively.
Addressing OECD sector risks
Safe and fair working conditions should be the norm for all apparel workers, which is why we use our inﬂuence to build capacity across our supply chain, normalising good practices and creating convergence with other brands. The OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector identifies 12 sector risks for the garment and footwear industry. The Guidance establishes a common understanding of due diligence to help companies meet the responsible business expectations laid out in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and emphasizes the voice of workers in the supply chain.
C&A believes the due diligence process is valuable. Although sustainability is already ingrained in what we do, completing the OECD due diligence provides a perspective shift. It helps us learn where our current practices are strong and effective, where we need improvement, and where we have gaps. The learnings from C&A’s OECD assessment process are embedded into our 2028 sustainability strategy through ambitious new goals designed to address gaps and create the roadmaps to make positive change in our supply chain. And because we reassess and revise our sustainability tactics annually, we have ongoing opportunities to make updates in line with our learnings from the OECD due diligence process.
Our risk assessment includes the 12 sector risks, such as forced labour, freedom of association, and health and safety. First, we assess the risks to understand the country risks as well as those possible in the actual C&A supply chain, along with their potential severity and a gap analysis of our actions compared to OECD expectations. Next, we determine the likelihood of risks occurring and prioritised future actions. We will implement actions as needed to address the risks and monitor their effectiveness, refining actions where appropriate.
Eliminating forced labour
We do not tolerate any kind of forced, bonded, or prison labour, or any kind of unauthorized subcontracting in our supply chain. In addition to our existing Supplier Code of Conduct, the C&A Forced Labour Policy reiterates the importance of eliminating forced labour. C&A requires each supplier to sign and return the statement to us. To this end, the media reports and allegations about China’s Xinjiang province are as concerning to us as to governments and civil society organisations around the world. We continue to work with our supply base to ensure best practice in these areas. We are working together with a number of major brands to better understand the situation in the Xinjiang Region and to define the actions to ensure an effective due diligence process, in particular with regards to Chinese cotton production.”
Read our full response to this issue
Promoting freedom of association
Freedom of association and collective bargaining is fundamental to improving labour conditions by amplifying worker voices and encouraging dialogue with management. Freedom of association is tested as part of our auditing process and is a key aspect of our Fairness Channel compliance hotline. We believe workers in any given country should be able to negotiate their wages under the same conditions, regardless of the factory or the brands for which they produce. C&A actively promotes the right of workers to bargain and negotiate collectively through their democratically elected labour unions.
As a founding member of ACT, we have adopted the ACT Purchasing Practices in five areas: fair terms of payment, full coverage of wage increases in prices, better forecasting and planning, training, and responsible exit. The ACT accountability and monitoring framework measures implementation of these commitments annually. Communication with suppliers and workers as well as a confidential channel to raise concerns and complaints will ensure continuous external feedback. Our commitment to work towards living wages in our supply chain is also spelled out in the Memorandum of Understanding C&A signed with IndustriALL. We have also committed to the Myanmar Guideline on Freedom of Association, under which supplier violations of this guideline would be treated as a zero-tolerance non-compliance.
Protecting health and safety
Our Supplier Code of Conduct includes robust requirements for building construction, ﬁre protection, and emergency preparedness. We have learned a lot from our work with the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, and maintained leading brand status in remediation of ﬁre and building safety issues in Bangladesh. We support our suppliers by working closely with them to understand the implications of new requirements and to implement changes, such as through training and capacity assessment. In addition, we regularly update our fire and building safety requirements, inspect all factories, and require them to have legal documentation in place for each building, including dormitories, canteens and warehouses. C&A suppliers also must maintain adequate insurance that covers workers for any injuries, accidents, or death.
Many other health and safety requirements are checked in each audit or SLCP assessment, such as electrical, machinery and boiler safety, availability of appropriate personal protective equipment, and worker training. Because health and safety non-compliances remain the most frequent violations identified during audits and assessments, we work very closely with suppliers to make sure they—and their workers—understand our requirements and comply consistently.
Supporting victims of underage labour
The required minimum age of workers in our supply chain follows the recommendations in the ETI Base Code and is in line with ILO Labour Standards. All workers must be at least 16 years to be present or work in a supplier’s production area. If young workers (aged 16 to 18) are hired, suppliers must comply with all relevant legal requirements, including work hour restrictions, hazardous work restrictions, and health checks.
If underage labour is identiﬁed in our supply chain, the child is removed from the factory immediately. To discourage them from seeking a job elsewhere, monthly payments equal to the minimum wage, funded by the supplier, are disbursed until they reach the legal minimum working age. At this point, the individual should be given the opportunity to be re-employed.
We also require that the supplier provides families with compensation for health screening, transportation funds, and accommodation for a child’s relatives to return them home. If the child is willing to attend lessons, the supplier must pay their school fees until the child meets the legal minimum working age.
We partner with local NGOs like the Child Rights in Business (CRIB) Working Group in China and Southeast Asia, Sheva in Bangladesh, Çagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (the Association for the Support of Contemporary Living) in Turkey, and others, to ensure that underage workers are supported and that we follow through the process of remediation. In other production countries, we seek NGOs that can better support the needs of children and follow the remediation process. In the meantime, our local teams take the responsibility to ensure that the remediation process is fulﬁlled.
Eliminating undisclosed production
Undisclosed production is when garments are being made in a place that has not been approved for production. It constitutes a serious violation because we cannot verify that the factory is in alignment with our Supplier Code of Conduct and our environmental and social requirements. We require that each new production unit is audited and meets the requirements of our Supplier Code of Conduct before orders are placed.
Clear expectations and consequences
If undisclosed production is identiﬁed, the Sourcing, Sustainable Supply Chain and Quality teams assess the undisclosed production unit(s). We operate under a three-strike policy to mitigate the risk of undisclosed production units. If undisclosed production is detected and the factory meets the other requirements of our Supplier Code of Conduct and quality standards, the supplier will receive a warning on the ﬁrst instance, suspension for 12 months or termination after the third instance. If a zero-tolerance item is found on inspection, a supplier can be suspended for 12 months or terminated, depending on the results of the investigation. To foster accountability and understanding of our requirements around undisclosed subcontracting, we informed our entire supply base and have regular interactions on the subject.
Continually improve the health and mental wellbeing of our employees
We aim to continually improve the wellbeing of our employees around the world, providing resources, programmes, and tools to foster a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle. For C&A, taking care of our employees has always been central, but recent global events have proven that we need become more resilient by strengthening our focus on employees even more — in C&A stores, distribution centres, and offices.
FUTURE ACTIONS in C&A Europe will include:
- Mental and physical wellbeing: C&A will support employees by addressing mental, physical, and social wellbeing through online sessions, course offerings, and opportunities to connect with colleagues in ways that foster a strong sense of community and a workplace environment that honours diversity and inclusion among employees.
- Empowering employees: through continuous learning opportunities, C&A will support skills development, advancement, and career satisfaction.
Continue reading for more about how we are improving employee wellbeing.
New Ways of Working Programme
Throughout the COVID crisis, C&A employees demonstrated their resilience, loyalty, and focus on our shared success. When office employees were at home due to the pandemic, C&A created the Wellbeing: New Ways of Working Programme. This online platform supports employees by addressing mental, physical, and social wellbeing. C&A engaged employees through online yoga and meditation sessions, course offerings, talks, social activities, and opportunities to connect with colleagues. The programme makes it easy for team members to contact colleagues and exchange experiences and tips for greater mental, physical, and social well-being, fostering a sense of community that transcends the store or office experience.
Working together on fairness and transparency
With C&A employees around the world, we are united in advancing sustainable fashion through a shared commitment to transparency. Our stores clearly display the names of C&A contacts for employee concerns or questions. We deal with any concerns rapidly, working to ﬁnd the best solutions for all parties. We also comply fully with anti-discrimination laws in the countries where we operate and encourage diversity across all our departments. All job roles, promotions, and rewards are awarded purely on the basis of merit. Should any issue of potential discrimination be reported, the executive board takes appropriate measures to investigate and resolve it.
We want all C&A employees to feel empowered and motivated to build sustainable practices into their day-to-day roles. We believe in bringing out the best in us all, so that together we can bring out the best in our customers, their families, and local communities.
Learning and development is an essential part of engaging and empowering our employees if sustainability is to be something we do together, every day. We take a localised approach to employee learning, focusing on the topics, issues, and educational content that matter most in each retail market.
Many employees—especially in younger generations—want to feel a sense of purpose from their work, so we continue focusing on employee engagement as a key lever for sustainability. In addition, our consumer surveys indicate that treating employees well is a strength for C&A and that our performance in this area is perceived to be strong.
Fostering diversity and inclusion
Consumers have also told us that gender diversity and inclusion in our workplace is a perceived strength for C&A and should be encouraged. Since a diverse and inclusive work environment is also key to employee wellbeing, we’re committed to making sure our workplaces and policies allow our employees to contribute their best and fulfill their potential. Each C&A retail market has the ﬂexibility to address diversity as is locally relevant.
Women are the driving force behind the apparel industry and our brand, and gender equity is an important principle of C&A’s culture. C&A signed the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, committing to gender parity and the empowerment of women, and we continue to prioritize gender equality and a sense of inclusion and appreciation in our efforts to improve employee wellbeing.
In 2018, we launched our Inspiring World campaign, engaging employees in developing ideas for positive change and partnering with C&A Foundation (now Laudes Foundation) to make donations beneﬁting some 250,000 people. After 2 successful years of Inspiring World, we closed this programme in light of the pandemic. However, our employees around the world continue to be an inspiration to us and others.
Collaborate on impactful industry initiatives to achieve our sustainability commitments
Working closely with others, whether peer companies, industry alliances, suppliers, or NGOs, has been central to our sustainability journey because collaboration is essential to shifting the fashion industry towards a sustainable future. Over the years, C&A and our partners have initiated a number of successful cross-industry collaborations, and we will continue to create, join, and maintain industry initiatives with other stakeholders in the fashion sector. This will allow all of us to achieve objectives that would not be possible working individually.
FUTURE ACTIONS in C&A Europe will include:
- Increased focus: we will focus our efforts on those industry initiatives with the potential to provide the greatest leverage.
- Progress tracking/measurement: we will determine key outcomes per industry collaboration and define and set clear targets to measure progress.
- Proactive approach: we will continue monitoring regulatory developments in the regions where the C&A brand is present, looking for opportunities to share our learnings and shape legislation that could enable the fashion industry to become more sustainable.
Continue reading for more about how we are collaborating with others to achieve our objectives.
Partnering for change
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #17 recognises the value of global partnerships in creating sustainable development, and we believe in the value of collaboration. Our partners are critical to helping us develop and achieve our sustainability ambitions and goals. We work with them to inform our strategy and to amplify our work, which aims to drive change across the broader apparel industry.
We are convinced that the desired high level of impact can be achieved only through active collaboration with other stakeholders. Industry collaboration is therefore explicitly addressed in our 2028 Sustainability strategy. We will further advance our current practice to an aligned and fully integrated approach with consistent impact performance measurement. Some of our ongoing collaborations with key organisations include:
ACT: ACT is an agreement among 20 global brands and IndustriALL Global Union in pursuit of living wages for workers in textile and garment supply chains. It works towards collective bargaining at industry level, enabled by freedom of association and responsible purchasing practices, to make an impact on wages. We have adopted the ACT Global Purchasing Practices commitment and are working on a time-bound implementation plan that includes a monitoring and accountability mechanism.
Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute: The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is an independent, global non-profit organization dedicated to powering the circular economy through products that have a positive impact on people and planet. Through the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program, the Institute sets the global standard for products that are safe, circular, and responsibly made. Developed and administered by the Institute, the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard evaluates the safety, circularity and responsibility of materials and products across five categories of sustainability performance: material health, product circularity, clean air and climate protection, water and soil stewardship, and social fairness. By awarding certification on the basis of ascending achievement levels and requiring certification renewal every two years, the Institute encourages and rewards continuous improvement towards positive impacts over time.
Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile: In 2016, we joined the Dutch Textile Covenant, led by the Government of the Netherlands, industry federations, labour organisations, and civil society. The covenant works to address the most pressing issues in textile-producing countries, such as preventing child labour and improving conditions and wages in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Eco Intelligent Growth: Eco Intelligent Growth (EIG) is an independent assessment body accredited by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. We work with EIG to assess products in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation: C&A is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular, which aims to accelerate the transition to circular fashion by driving collaboration between industry leaders and other key stakeholders. We contribute to the initiative through working groups in which we share our knowledge and lessons learned implementing our circularity strategy, and where we also have opportunities to hear from others to inform our own strategy going forward. Additionally, C&A participates in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100, a global platform that brings together companies from multiple sectors, innovators, and regions to advance the transition to a circular economy.
Fashion for Good: This global initiative aims to transform the fashion industry from the linear ‘take-make-waste’ model to a circular approach which is restorative and regenerative by design. Fashion for Good convenes apparel brands such as C&A, as well as producers, suppliers, non-proﬁt organisations, innovators, and funders. The initiative oﬀers practical action in the form of support, funding, and roadmaps, and fosters the necessary sector-wide collaboration and action to make circular fashion a reality. C&A was one of the ﬁrst corporate partners of Fashion for Good following the initiative’s launch by Laudes Foundation (formerly C&A Foundation). Since then, many other brands have joined.
German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (Textilbündnis): Since 2015, we have played an active role in sharing best practice and developing the agenda of the German Federal Government’s Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. This multi-stakeholder initiative seeks to improve social, economic, and environmental outcomes across garment industry supply chains
Global Fashion Agenda’s Circular Fashion Partnership: In February of 2021, C&A committed to actions that could facilitate the fashion industry’s transition to the circular model.
MBDC: MBDC is an independent assessment body accredited by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. We work with MBDC to assess products in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Product Standard.
McDonough Innovation: McDonough Innovation supports product concepts and solutions that embed sustainable principles into product development. The organisation, together with Fashion for Good and C&A Foundation (now Laudes Foundation), advised C&A during development of our Cradle to Cradle Certiﬁed products. Similarly, we work with MBDC on certification of our Cradle to Cradle Certiﬁed products.
Social and Labour Convergence Project (SLCP): In our eﬀort to support common industry standards to address current challenges, C&A is part of the Social and Labour Convergence Project (SLCP). This is the most thorough eﬀort to create a converged assessment framework that promotes collaboration, reduces the number of audits suppliers receive, and frees up resources that will be redirected to support remediation and prevention throughout the supply chain. More than 200 members, including brands, multi-stakeholder initiatives, audit ﬁrms, and NGOs, support SLCP in its journey.
Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC): The vision of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition is of an apparel, footwear, and home textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities. It plans to achieve this by promoting supply chain transparency and pioneering assessment tools. Our industry focus as one of the founding members of the SAC has led C&A to become one of the main drivers of an update to the Higg Module – a key sustainability tool – which will beneﬁt the apparel sector as a whole. Industry convergence by way of the widespread adoption of the Higg Module is key to the success of the SAC.
For a more complete list of memberships, collaborations, and partnerships, please see our sustainability reporting centre.
Act to strengthen positive impacts on the communities where we operate
Many of C&A’s sourcing countries are disproportionately aﬀected by environmental or social issues, ranging from poverty and gender inequality to extreme weather and diseases. C&A partners with other trustworthy organisations to deliver positive local outcomes, reducing risk of harm, and fostering resilience. In those cases where disasters cannot be prevented, we have and will continue to provide disaster relief where we operate, and increase our store giving programme. We also support the communities around our retail operations, head offices, and company-owned distribution centres via our long-standing community giving programme, C&A Together, which channels funds into charities nominated by local C&A retail organisations to support communities.
FUTURE ACTIONS in C&A Europe will include:
- Our employees: we will leverage employee knowledge of their local community needs, boosting the eﬀectiveness of grants and giving employees opportunities to engage more deeply with their communities.
- Our customers: we will continue oﬀering in-store giving opportunities so customers can support charities and drive societal change.
- Local support: we will determine the best approaches for country-level community support, including employee philanthropy and locally relevant marketing campaigns that include giving back.
Continue reading for more about how we are strengthening community wellbeing.
Giving and volunteering
To truly strengthen the most vulnerable communities, we must get to the root cause of these complex challenges. We work in partnership with COFRA Foundation on volunteer programmes that support local charities, oﬀer in-store giving opportunities so customers can support community charities, seek to change perceptions, and drive societal change.
Over the past six years, our partnership with Save the Children has helped communities around the world become more resilient. Our foundations (first C&A Foundation and now COFRA Foundation) provided significant philanthropic funding to Save the Children. We have a strong belief in the work of Save The Children and we encourage their mission and vision. Although we ended our partnership at the end of 2020, we want to continue to support the organisation’s important work on community resilience through regular fundraising activities in the years to come.
C&A Together community giving
Our longstanding community giving programme, C&A Together, channels COFRA Foundation funds into charities nominated by local C&A retail organisations to support communities. This allows us to leverage employee knowledge of what their local community needs, boosting the eﬀectiveness of grants and giving employees opportunities to engage more deeply with their communities.