Stakeholder engagement Maintining active dialogue to drive change

We engage with stakeholders to understand their perspectives on key issues in the apparel industry.  Through this engagement we can work together to find solutions and to continually improve our strategy.

Our stakeholder engagement process consists of six steps:

  • We identify stakeholders to understand their relevance to our objectives and material issues.
  • We prioritise our most important stakeholders.
  • We analyse each stakeholder and take their perspective into account to determine the appropriate level of engagement.
  • We maintain an active dialogue with our most relevant stakeholders to understand their views.
  • We incorporate their feedback where appropriate to help us continually improve our strategy.
  • We include our stakeholders in the implementation process of new strategies and programmes.


Our key stakeholder groups

We have identified 64 stakeholder groups across eight main focus areas.  These areas include sustainable sourcing, the circular economy, our environmental impact, safe and fair working conditions in our supply chains, and inspiring and enabling our customers to act sustainably and to engage our employees.

While this list includes many stakeholder groups that we engage on a regular basis, we invite any one to start a conversation with C&A on any topic.  To contact us, please click here.

 Who we are in dialogue with

OrganisationTopic
GreenpeaceSustainable Chemicals Management
Clean Clothes CampaignWorkers’ rights dialogue
IndustriALLWorkers’ rights and living wage dialogue
Centre for Research on
Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
Workers’ rights
Four PawsAnimal welfare
Ethical Trading InitiativeWorkers’ rights and living wage dialogue
Responsible Sourcing NetworkCotton Sourcing
International Labour OrganizationGlobal Partnership for workers’ rights

We involve our key stakeholders in setting the direction of major strategies and programmes, and keep them updated on our progress. In 2016, we held a stakeholder meeting in Zurich on ‘Transparency as a driver for change’. C&A aims to be a leader in sustainability through the proactive and transparent engagement of our stakeholders. After taking the first step – disclosing details of all our tier-1 factories for C&A Europe – we decided to invite key stakeholders to a half-day meeting in order to keep them informed and involved in our ongoing strategy on transparency. In a good and open conversation, stakeholders provided thoughtful feedback and posed questions on:

  • The company, its values, the sustainability strategy, and approach to transparency.
  • The purpose, objectives and what C&A wants to achieve with particular strategies and how these relate to transparency.
  • How C&A identifies its top challenges and currently sets priorities, and how it previously set them.
  • How best to address systematic issues.
  • Whether the aim was to share information or to enable change in the supply chain.

 


Through this process, we incorporated their feedback. The group agreed to meet together again during 2017 to follow up on progress and provide feedback.

Partnering for change

The United Nations’ 17th Sustainable Development Goal recognises the value of global partnerships in creating sustainable development. 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. 

C&A Foundation

Our most significant partner is C&A Foundation, who have been on a mission to make fashion a force for good since 2013. They believe that fashion can be fair and sustainable, but that radical change is needed across the industry to reach this goal. Together, we deliver groundbreaking projects that make a real difference. The Fashion for Good innovation hub is the latest example: launched in Amsterdam in March 2017, it is an industry-wide ‘open-source’ initiative supporting the development of circular fashion, with other leading partners such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and sustainable trade initiative IDH. 

Read more about C&A Foundation here

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s vision 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 through 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 Index – a key sustainability tool – which will benefit the apparel sector as a whole. Industry convergence by way of the widespread adoption of the Higg Index is key to the success of the SAC.

Read more about SAC here

Zero Discharge Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC)

The ZDHC programme aims to advance towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the textile and footwear value chain to improve the environment and people's wellbeing. The ZDHC programme includes a collaboration of 22 signatory brands, 24 value chain affiliates and 10 associates. Together, we are working to support implementation of safer chemical management practices. C&A was an early signatory to the programme and a founding member of the ZDHC academy.

Read more about ZDHC here

ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation)

ACT is an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement working to ensure living wages for garment workers in key sourcing countries. Now in its second phase, the multi-stakeholder initiative is establishing programmes and developing responsible purchasing practices for the industry. C&A is a founding member.

Read more about ACT here

The Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety

C&A are a founding member of the Bangladesh Accord. We were one of the first to sign the Accord, along with 220 other brands, international unions and NGOs in response to the Rana Plaza disaster. The Accord is an independent, legally-binding agreement, designed to create a safe and healthy garment industry in Bangladesh.  We've played an active role in the steering committee since its inception.

Read more about the Bangladesh Accord

Dutch Textile Covenant

In 2016, we joined the Dutch Textile Covenant, led by the Netherlands government, 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.

Read more about the Dutch Textile Covenant here

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. In 2017, as part of our commitment to the partnership, we submitted our roadmap with specific goals.

Going forward, we would like to see such national initiatives co-ordinated at a higher level and incorporated in one Europe-wide initiative that co-ordinates national efforts and creates convergence in actions and resource allocation for greater impact.

Read more about Textilbündnis here

CottonConnect

CottonConnect is on a mission to transform the cotton industry for good. It works with brands and retailers such as C&A to enable them to develop a more robust and resilient cotton supply chain.  In 2007, C&A and the Shell Foundation founded CottonConnect. CottonConnect promotes transparency in the supply chain, trains farmers in agro-economic practices and supports the enhancement of farmer livelihoods and strong farming communities. Before moving to Better Cotton, we ran the REEL programme with CottonConnect to improve conventional cotton growing through sustainable approaches. We continue to work with them to develop testing methods for organic cotton and improve conditions for the farmers.

Read more about Better Cotton here

International partnerships summary

Collaboration or partnershipSinceRole
UN Global Compact2015Signatory
Action, Collaboration,
Transformation
2015Founding member
Partnership for Sustainable
Textiles
2015Member
Better Cotton Initiative2015Member
Canopy2015Member
Organic Cotton Accelerator2015Member, Member of the Board
Bangladesh Accord for Fire
and Building Safety
2013Signatory, Steering Committee Member
Abvtex2014Founding member
Better Mill Initiative2013Member
Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)2012Member
Forum for the Future2012Member
Zero Discharge of Hazardous
Chemicals
2011Member, Member of the Board
Partnership for Cleaner Textile2010Steering committee member
Sustainable Apparel Coalition2010Founding member, Chair of the Board
Save the Children2015Sponsoring partner
Water Footprint Network2009Sponsoring partner
CottonConnect2009Founding member
Global Social Compliance
Programme
2008Member
Textile Exchange2004

Member, Member of the Board

C&A Foundation2013Member of the Board
Fashion for Good2016Corporate partner, Member of Steering Committee
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