With 179 years of history, our values are an important foundation for how we do business every day with our colleagues, customers, and suppliers.
Our values are embodied in the following five principles:
Sustainability is something we do together, every day. It’s important that our employees, partners, and suppliers share our values. In 2015, we updated our global Supplier Code of Conduct and have implemented it throughout our supply chain.
The code provides a uniform set of expectations for suppliers on legal compliance, labour practices, and environmental performance, supported by a comprehensive set of guidelines. The code itself focuses on compliance, but our approach goes further: building capacity amongst our key suppliers so they can proactively take ownership of key issues. Our Supplier Ownership Programme includes a strong focus on capacity building and management systems to drive our approach beyond auditing. This is supported by capacity building programmes amongst employees: giving them the support they need to report and act on key issues that affect them.
We have also revised our audit programme and our compliance team is able to audit 100% of our suppliers’ production units at least once a year, conducting approximately 3,000 audits annually. They also work closely with suppliers to improve their performance and leadership over time.
Holding ourselves to high standards
Our Employee Code of Ethics creates a single set of requirements for how employees should behave. Our leaders are responsible for creating a working environment that encourages appropriate conduct and must lead by example in ethical behaviour. Employees are encouraged to report behaviours not aligned with our values at our Fairness Channels online and with WeChat in China – the portals for both employees and suppliers to raise awareness of violations to C&A management.
We want to create products everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or size, and recognise the need to reflect this in our advertising campaigns. When we develop new advertising campaigns, we will continue to avoid content that could be seen as discriminatory, defamatory, or hurtful.
Respecting human rights
C&A respects the human rights of everyone we work with. Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Employee Code of Ethics are guided by best practice on human rights, including the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and the International Labour Organization (ILO). For instance, our approach to underage workers sets a standard that is higher than national legislation and many leading brands. We have conducted a human rights gap assessment and a thorough due diligence of our sourcing and buying practices to see how this could aﬀect those in our supply chain.
Promoting fairness and transparency
We work in a fair and transparent manner and expect the same of our supply chain. For 11 years, our compliance hotlines, which we call Fairness Channels, have enabled us to deal with any issues that arise about situations in our offices, stores, or supply chain. Our Fairness Channels align with our Supplier Code of Conduct and Employee Code of Ethics.
To ensure that the workers in our suppliers' factories understand our requirements, we require our suppliers to train all workers and to prominently post our Code of Conduct and the contact information for our Fairness Channels in the local languages.
Our stores clearly display the names of C&A contacts, who can be contacted regarding concerns or questions. We deal with any issues rapidly, seeking the best solutions for all parties.