Stakeholder engagement Maintaining 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 include our stakeholders in the implementation process of new strategies and programmes.
  • We incorporate their feedback where appropriate to help us continually improve our strategy.


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 anyone to start a conversation with C&A on any topic. To contact us, please click here.

Organisation Topic
Business & Human Rights Center Human Rights due diligence
Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) Workers’ rights
Cividep Workers’ rights in India
Clean Clothes Campaign Workers’ rights
Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Workers’ rights and living wagee
Freedom Fund Workers’ rights and bonded labour
Four Paws Animal welfare
Greenpeace Sustainable Chemicals Management
Human Rights Watch Workers’ rights and freedom of association
Indian Committee of the Netherlands Workers’ rights and migrant labour
IndustriALL Workers’ rights and living wage
International Labor Organization (ILO) Global partnership for workers’ rights
Responsible Sourcing Network Cotton sourcing
Solidaridad Workers’ rights
Textile Exchange Animal welfare and raw materials

We involve our key stakeholders in setting the direction of major strategies and programmes, and keep them updated on our progress.


In 2017, we have expanded our engagement with stakeholders as we updated our Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) strategy. The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) reviewed and provided input for the development of the strategy. As they are a tripartite organisation, they also voiced the perspective of workers and civil society.


In the past year, our Sustainable Chemicals Management programme has evolved to become one of the core elements of our SSC strategy. We recognise that it is crucial to involve our key stakeholders, update them on the implementation of the programme, and discuss the lessons learned. Our first stakeholder dialogue meeting on chemicals management took place in May 2018. We gathered feedback on the current strategy and created a platform for collaboration and dialogue between C&A and our key stakeholders.

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 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

Read the C&A Foundation 2017 Annual Report

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 of 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 24 signatory brands, 53 value chain affiliates and 15 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, and in June 2017 we helped define how the agreement should be extended past its five-year anniversary.

Read more about the Bangladesh Accord

Dutch Textile Covenant

In 2016, we joined the Dutch Textile Covenant, led by the Government of the Netherlands, 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 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 partnership Since Role
Changing Markets 2018 Signatory
Make Fashion Circular 2018 Signatory
United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP) 2018 Signatory
Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute 2017 Board member
Fashion for Good 2017 First corporate partner Innovation committee member
Prince of Wales Cotton Communiqué 2017 Signatory
Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) 2017 Signatory
Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Economy 100 (CE100) 2016 Member

Ellen MacArthur Foundation Make Fashion Circular

2018 Participant
Dutch Covenant for Sustainable Apparel and Textile 2016 Member
Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) 2015 Founding member
Amsterdam Coalition 2015 Founding member
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) 2015 Member Buyer and investment committee member
CanopyStyle Initiative 2015 Member
Save the Children 2015 Sponsoring partner
The German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles 2015 Member
UN Global Compact 2015 Signatory
Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) 2014 Founding member Board and investment committee member
Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety 2013 Steering committee member
Better Mill Initiative 2013 Member
Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) 2012 Member
Forum for the Future 2012 Member
Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) 2011 Board member
Brazilian Association of Textile Retailers (ABVTEX) 2010 Member
Partnership for Cleaner Textiles 2010 Member
Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) 2010 Founding member
CottonConnect 2009 Founding member
Global Social Compliance Programme 2008 Member
Textile Exchange 2004 Board member