Our 2016 Performance Strong performance towards our 2020 goals

We made strong progress towards our 2020 sustainability goals in 2016. Over half of the cotton we use is now either organic cotton or Better Cotton. We launched our first circular fashion product, a GOLD level Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedTM T-shirt. We’ve also continued to engage our customers and employees on issues important to them. 

newborn collection


We continue to focus on strengthening our programmes across the rest of our supply chain to meet our 2020 goals for top-rated suppliers, particularly in relation to safe and fair labour practices and zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.

Even though we are not where we wanted to be in terms of turnover and profitability in 2016, we remain committed to our sustainability goals and are determined to strengthen our efforts when it comes to leading industry-wide change.

Our performance overview

Sustainable Products

  • 53% of the cotton we source is certified organic cotton or grown as Better Cotton, up from 40% in 2015. For the fourth year, we were named the world’s largest buyer of organic cotton.
  • Over one-fifth of the cotton we sell is sourced as Better Cotton, making us one of the largest consumers of Better Cotton worldwide.
  • We are the first partner brand of the Fashion for Good Initiative where we will collaborate in driving circular economy approaches into our supply chain.
  • Our revolutionary GOLD level Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedTM T-shirt is now being sold in our stores.  A first for the fashion industry and sold at scale.
  • We only purchase down and feathers that meet the Responsible Down Standard, and we’re working to strengthen the standard and scale it across the industry.
  • After our successful pilot in China, we’re working on the global roll-out of the Canopy Style Initiative to sustainably source man-made cellulosic (viscose-rayon) to protect forests.



Sustainable Supply

  • Within this report, we have disclosed the details of 100% of our tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers across all four regions. The names and addresses of 788 suppliers' factories are plotted on a supplier map.
  • We added 10 suppliers to our Supplier Ownership Programme, growing the programme from 14 to 24, which now covers 60,000 workers.
  • We continued to deliver a strong and constantly evolving audit process on safe and fair labour. Although, globally, our A/B rated suppliers dropped from 90% to 78% due to higher standards on fire safety, and auditing Mexico and Brazil on the new Supplier Code of Conduct for the first year – we see this as testament to how our processes are helping raise standards, and will continue to do so.
  • We are among the leading brands for remediation in line with the Bangladesh Accord. C&A was one of the first to sign the Accord, and four years on, 86% of the issues identified across C&A's supplier operations have been corrected. Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) are in place for the remaining 14%.
  • We are one of the only fashion brands to disclose our entire Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory and cradle to grave water footprint.
  • We completed our second hybrid Life Cycle Assessment to measure our carbon and water footprints from cradle to grave. Compared to our estimate for 2015, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 12% and our water footprint, significantly, by 28% in 2016.
  • We increased the number of wet processing production units that undergo chemical audits from 50 to 111, with plans for a rapid scale-up to over 400 by the end of 2018/2019.
  • We are leading industry-wide convergence on a standardised environmental and social assessment tool called the Higg 3.0 Facility Environment Module as part of our collaboration with other brands in the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
  • In Europe, we committed to new 2020 goals of 30% reduction of water in production of our raw materials, and 10% reduction of water use in stores, distribution centres and offices. We also committed to zero waste to landfill by 2020.



Sustainable Lives

  • C&A was recognised as the most sustainable retail fashion brand in the Netherlands and Brazil in our second annual customer survey. In unprompted responses from 6,000 customers, we also remained ‘top of mind’ for sustainability in Germany and France.
  • 78% of our employees in Brazil, Mexico and Asia participated in our Inspiring Women campaign (a total of 15,835 employees), up from 52% in the same countries last surveyed in 2015. Over €398,000 was raised for 15 charities.
  • 99% of participants in Inspiring Women said that C&A operates in a socially responsible manner – compared with 92% in 2015.
  • Over €500,000 was raised by customers to help refugees across Europe and €18,000 raised to help victims of natural disasters in Mexico.
  • In 2016/17, C&A Foundation funded 488 initiatives in 18 European countries, donating almost €3 million through store giving, out of a total budget of €55.5 million. The recipients of the money were chosen by our employees. 

Progress towards our 2020 goals

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