C&A is a global retail fashion company that touches the lives of 51,000 employees, over 1 million apparel workers and more than 100 million customers each year. 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 offices and stores, enabling our customers to undertake more sustainable actions. Our particular focus on Inspiring Women (our flagship employee engagement campaign) recognises how 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. In 2018, this campaign will become Inspiring World, encouraging our employees to share their visions of a better world and including them in championing our 2020 sustainability goals.
Making sustainability the new normal
We want our customers to feel good about shopping at C&A, and our employees to feel proud of our contribution on the community, society and environment. Our goal is for C&A to be recognised as the most sustainable retail fashion brand across our regions: something we are proud to have achieved in Brazil for the second year in a row and in the Netherlands for the third year in a row. We have also maintained our strong position in Germany.
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 there should be no extra cost to the customer – or the people who make their clothes.
C&A employees are key to the success of the business and the way we enable our customers to contribute to good causes and understand more about sustainability. We want every employee to feel engaged and supported, to take pride in their work, believe in our company values and be enthusiastic about engaging our customers. In the future, we look forward to every employee being in a position to drive sustainability, whether it’s through sourcing and buying, or connecting with customers in our stores.
Many of our operations take place in areas facing serious environmental and social challenges. We aim to create strong, resilient communities where we live and source from, to support the many workers that create our products.
Continuously increase employee sustainability engagement scores by creating a culture of sustainability among employees.
Establish and achieve key goals in our Women´s Empowerment Principles action plan.
We will work to ensure C&A is recognised as the most sustainable retail fashion brand.
Listening to our customers
2017 was the third year of our sustainability customer insights survey, and it showed that customers continue to be interested in the origin of their clothing and how their clothes are made, with an increasing interest in product-related environmental benefits.
Communicating on sustainability
Our 2017 customer survey showed that C&A is considered to be open and honest, and that this continues to drive our sustainability reputation. In 2018 we launched #WearTheChange, our first global, multi-channel sustainability communications campaign, in Europe, Brazil and China. The rollout of the campaign will continue to Mexico in 2018, bringing sustainability to life for customers around the world.
Employee Code of Ethics
Our Employee Code of Ethics is active in most markets and is the standard that guides behaviour, setting out what we expect at C&A. We will continue to implement it globally during 2018.
In Brazil, we integrated communications on the Employee Code of Ethics into our induction process for new employees, training 4,849 employees in 2017. C&A Brazil also added a course on the Code of Ethics to its new training platform Academia da Moda and restructured its Ethics Committee. C&A China conducted e-learning on the Code of Ethics: 90% of employees completed the training and test.
2017 was the third year of our Inspiring Women campaign, in which C&A colleagues are encouraged to share stories of the women who have inspired them. A total of 13,920 employees in Europe and China took part in the campaign in 2017. In many of our countries – including Italy, Switzerland and China – participation was above 80%, and we raised €574,000 for charities supporting women’s safety, leadership and voice.
We continued our global humanitarian partnership with Save the Children and C&A Foundation for the third year. Between March 2017 and February 2018, C&A Europe and C&A Mexico raised a total of €870,800 for Save the Children, through cause-related marketing, emergency appeals and other initiatives.
Every sustainable lifestyle is different
We are a global fashion retail company made up of four regions, encompassing many different cultures, people and societies. We believe that deep engagement with local issues is the most effective way to normalise sustainable behaviours across our different regions. That means we guide the ‘why’ and ‘what’ through our 2020 global sustainability framework, and allow the regions to deliver the ‘how’ in ways that make sense to them at a local level.