Materiality What's material matters

Our global sustainability strategy, launched in 2015, sets 2020 goals for our products, our supply network, and our employees and customers. We developed the strategy with the input of many external and internal stakeholders. Moving beyond materiality matrices, in our global sustainability reports, including this one, we strive to address our most material issues and report with both narratives and KPIs whenever possible.

Approach to materiality

In 2013, we began a four-phase project to benchmark our current position, determine material issues, and develop a unified approach internally:

  1. Research - We interviewed 40 key stakeholders, including development experts, researchers, and business leaders. We assessed sustainability performance, reviewed existing research, and developed an initial mapping of our material issues. We also utilised key data from our LCA process, our historical sustainability performance, customer research and interactions, and stakeholder input over the past three years to validate aspects identified.
  2. Value Chain Impacts - For the first time we also focused on assessing our environmental impacts further to ensure that we are focusing in the right areas, regardless of our influence. We developed an LCA model to determine our water and carbon footprints from the fields to the end of use of our products. We also assessed our social impacts across our value chain through our SSC programs and in our human rights gap assessment. 
  3. Exploration - We then evaluated the success of existing C&A sustainability programmes, reviewed major industry initiatives, and explored how the industry might look in 15 years, with a goal of determining where and how C&A could make a difference. Key initiatives like the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provided additional context for consolidating and focusing the material issues for greater global impact. From this, we prioritised the aspects where C&A has a key role in creating positive change and also where these issues are priorities for our stakeholders.
  4. Strategy - We developed an integrated strategy incorporating our material issues with three pillars for action: Sustainable ProductsSustainable Supply, and Sustainable Lives
newborn collection

Our material topics have generally remained the same since 2013, and are shown in our 2018 materiality assessment review.

2018 materiality assessment update

Since our initial materiality assessment in 2013, we have continued to review our material issues in the context of stakeholder input and importance to our business. In 2018, we again updated our materiality assessment and consulted four important categories of input:

  1. Our corporate identity, including C&A values, vision, and mission
  2. Consumer insights, including consumer trends and viewpoints (including our annual customer survey in concert with GlobeScan), market intelligence, and future trends
  3. Sustainability trends, including industry intelligence, market intelligence, competitor analysis, stakeholder trends, and future trends
  4. Our impacts, including key impact areas and future trends

 

Drawing from this input, we refreshed our materiality assessment to identify the top material issues — those deemed most important by our stakeholders and for our business. The results, as shown in the chart below, reflect this review and the ways in which the most material issues have been incorporated into our 2020 sustainability goals. Other material issues — such as quality, product safety, and responsible marketing — remain part of our ongoing business approach.

2018 materiality assessment review

Click or tap a plot point to see the associated goals.

Medium
Level of concern to stakeholders
High
High
Current or potential impact on C&A
Medium
Capacity building
and auditing

Capacity building and auditing

Safe and Fair Labour

• 100% of our products sourced from A/B-rated suppliers
• Build capacity and supplier ownership within our supply chain

Gender equality
(and no discrimination)

Gender equity and equality (and no discrimination)

Engaging Employees / Diversity and Inclusion

Establish and achieve key goals in our Women’s Empowerment  Principles action plan

Transparency

Transparency

Safe and Fair Labour

In addition to our goal to source 100% of our products from A/B-rated suppliers, our full supplier list is available online and updated regularly.

Circular Fashion

Circular fashion

Circular Economy

• Continually increase Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM products in our retail markets.
• Support circular innovations in our value chain through our partnership with Fashion for Good.

Climate Change

Climate Change

Clean Environment

20% reduction of carbon footprint in C&A stores, distribution centres, and offices

Codes of conduct
(including anti-corruption)

Codes of Conduct (including anti-corruption)

Safe and Fair Labour

• 100% of our products sourced from A/B-rated suppliers 
• Build capacity and supplier ownership within our supply chain

We maintain a Supplier Code of Conduct as well as a Code of Ethics for all employees. We provide training for suppliers and employees on the expectations detailed in the respective Codes.

Recycling and
material reuse

Recycling and material reuse

Circular Economy

• Continually increase Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM products in our retail markets.
• Support circular innovations in our value chain through our partnership with Fashion for Good.

Sustainable raw
materials and products

Sustainable raw materials and products

Sustainable Materials

• 100% of our cotton is more sustainable
• 67% of our raw materials are more sustainable 
• Zero discharge of hazardous chemicals 
• 30% reduction of water in raw materials stage (by 2025)

Waste management
and recycling

Waste management and recycling

Circular Economy
Clean Environment
Enabling Customers

• Zero waste to landfill (by 2025)
• C&A is recognised as the most sustainable retail fashion brand (helping customers to act more sustainably)

Responsible chemical
management

Responsible chemical management

Clean Environment

• 67% of our raw materials are more sustainable 
• Zero discharge of hazardous chemicals 
‍• 100% of our cotton is more sustainable

Animal welfare

Animal welfare

Sustainable Materials

• 100% of our products sourced from A/B-rated suppliers

In addition to our goal to source 100% of our products from A/B-rated suppliers, we have made—and adhere to—various animal welfare commitments related to the use of responsible down, the banning of any fur, and other policies.

Consumer
empowerment

Consumer empowerment

Enabling Customers

C&A is recognised as the most sustainable retail fashion brand (helping customers to act more sustainably)

Water stewardship

Water stewardship

Clean Environment

• 30% reduction of water in raw materials stage (by 2025)
• Zero discharge of hazardous chemicals 
• 10% reduction of water use in C&A stores, distribution centres, and offices (by 2025)

Labour practices
and human rights

Labour practices and human rights

Safe and Fair Labour

• 100% of our products sourced from A/B-rated suppliers
• Build capacity and supplier ownership within our supply chain

Sustainable Products
Sustainable Supply
Sustainable Lives
Goal
Status
2016
2017
2018
EU
61.3 %
73.5 %
73.7 %
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