Product quality and safety Delivering what our customers want

Our customers’ health, safety, and enjoyment of our products is fundamental. We work hard to ensure product quality and safety, aiming to meet or exceed industry standards, legal requirements, and our customers’ expectations. We also collaborate with others in our industry to raise standards across the apparel sector. 

 

Our approach

Our Quality, Assurance and Development teams in Europe, Brazil, Mexico, and China oversee every aspect of product safety and quality. They examine our goods to determine their physical, chemical, and mechanical properties as well as measurements and workmanship. For babies’ and children’s clothing, safety criteria receive specific attention. Product testing is carried out by C&A and in cooperation with external laboratories like SGS, Intertek, and Bureau Veritas, to ensure our collections meet the latest legal, chemical, and safety standards. The team also helps our suppliers, factories, and colleagues understand safety risks and coordinates with legal bodies and industry associations.

Quality down to the last detail 
Our commitment to quality extends throughout the manufacturing chain, beginning with fabric manufacture and continuing through production to the final random sampling of individual products in our stores. 

Auditing of our production units 
These quality audits ensure that only appropriate production units that meet all our requirements are allowed to produce garments for C&A according to all our quality standards. 

Product sample inspection 
Whether a certain product can be sold at C&A is determined after a sample of the item has been examined according to stringent criteria, such as workmanship and physical properties (resistance to tearing, shrinkage, colour fastness), chemicals, and various legal safety requirements (for example, small parts or restrictions on the use of cords that could pose a danger to babies or children). Once these and other criteria have been met, an item may be manufactured for C&A. 

Quality and conformity inspection 
These inspections take place during and after production so we can determine whether the product matches our requirements. Workmanship, measurements, and safety checks must be passed before items are allowed into C&A stores. 

Structured quality and due diligence checks 
To provide the greatest possible safety for our customers, C&A also performs random due diligence checks on products to ensure they meet our expectations. 

Activating our restricted substance list 
To support the development of safe clothing with no hazardous chemicals present, we have implemented a restricted substances policy. We are also active members of voluntary industry groups such as the Apparel & Footwear International RSL Management (AFIRM) Group and Cooperation Against Dangerous Substances in Shoes (CADS). 

In addition, approximately 25% of our collections in Europe achieved the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 rating, an independent testing and certification system for textile raw materials, components, and end products. This confirms that our fabric, yarn, components, and trims have undergone a rigorous test for harmful chemicals.

Garment manufacturers apply poly-fluorinated compounds (PFCs) to garments to repel liquids and stains. However, research by organisations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has indicated a link between PFCs and damage to human health and wildlife. Globally, we eliminated PFCs from all products as of 2015. 

Towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals 
The C&A Chemical Policy also contains the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), which focuses on the elimination of hazardous chemicals in the supply chain. C&A is a founding member of ZDHC, a coalition of 23 global brands and retailers with a shared commitment to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in their supply chains. 

Read our public commitment to ZDHC

Moving towards chrome-free leather 
We don’t use a lot of leather in our products. But when we do, we want to make sure it is produced responsibly. One way we do this is by striving to buy leather for our clothing that is chrome-free tanned. 
  
Recalling potentially unsafe products 
We had no product recalls across our retail markets in 2018.

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