Other more sustainable raw materials Sourced with respect for people, nature and animals

Our clothing is made from a wide variety of raw materials, including natural fibres such as cotton, down, linen and wool, as well as synthetic fibres such as polyester, and man-made cellulosics like viscose. Ensuring they’re more sustainable means the materials are grown and manufactured in ways that use fewer natural resources, respect nature and people, and ensure the welfare of animals throughout the supply chain.



We want our customers to feel good about the clothes they buy at C&A. We started our journey with more sustainable cotton – our most-used material – and are using what we’ve learnt to develop and implement best practice for other raw materials. 

Our 2020 goal is for 67% of our raw materials to be more sustainable. In 2017, we made good progress against that goal, achieving a total of 44%. The vast majority of this progress has been driven by our work in more sustainable cotton.

Animal welfare

Responsibly sourced down

Recycled Polyester

Preferred man-made cellulosics

Why we focus on man-made fibres

  • Man-made fibres account for more than 40% of the materials we use at C&A. 
  • 14.2kg of CO2 is generated to make one kilogram of polyester fibre [SOURCE: WWF] and demand has been growing rapidly since the 1990s at 7% every year [SOURCE: Water Footprint Network].
  • 120 million trees are felled each year to make cellulosic fabric in the clothing we all wear [SOURCE: Canopy].

Why we focus on animal welfare

Animal welfare is a key issue for our customers and C&A as a business. The mistreatment of animals is still prevalent across the world and materials can be hard to trace back to the farm where the animals were born and live. Animal materials appear in a number of our products, from the down in our jackets to the wool in our sweaters, and we work hard to ensure that these materials do not come from mistreated animals. We also offer our customers the choice to select a synthetic substitute and always have an alternative in-store.

Our 2017 actions

Work towards our 2020 goal for 67% of our raw materials to be more sustainable.

Continue sourcing 100% RDS-certified down and conduct additional supply chain due dilligence.

Roll out our sourcing policy for man-made cellulosic fibres in Europe and China, and conduct a pilot in Brazil.

Increase the uptake of recycled fibres in Europe.

Our 2017 performance

An animal welfare policy that captures the strength of our commitment

At the end of 2016 we launched our new comprehensive animal welfare policy to further our commitment to treating animals with care and respect. Building on our proven track record, we have developed principles that will build upon our strong buying and sourcing practices for animal-based materials.

Read more about our animal welfare policy

100% Responsible Down Standard-certified down

We have been sourcing 100% RDS-certified down since 2016. In 2017, we brought over 1.3 million products containing down to market, all certified to RDS. In October, we launched our second Europe-wide campaign to communicate this effort to our customers and sold 89% of our RDS-certified down jackets within two weeks.

Read more about down and feathers

Read more about man-made cellulosics

Read more about polyester

Who we’re working with 

Collaborating to make sustainable raw materials the norm

To meet our 2020 targets around raw materials, we have formed or joined partnerships with leading industry stakeholders seeking to implement change faster and more effectively. We use tried and tested, independently audited initiatives to improve our performance. Once we have achieved those best practice standards, we seek to collaborate further, taking the industry with us along the way.

Our cornerstone commitment on cotton has formed the basis of our approach to responsible down and we have used our learnings to shape and adopt the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and the CanopyStyle initiative.