Animal welfare Treating animals with care and respect

C&A has a long-standing commitment to high standards of animal welfare. We believe that animals should be treated with care, respect and dignity, as per the Five Freedoms. We work hard with partners and our suppliers to make sure this approach is standard practice across our supply chain. This involves focusing on all the raw materials involved in the production of our clothing. 

Our animal welfare policy

Our policy on animal welfare states that we will:

  • Expect our suppliers to abide by the internationally-accepted Five Freedoms for animal welfare.
  • Never use products for which animals have been slaughtered or harmed in any way for their skin, fur or feathers. 
  • Strive to increase traceability from the farm to the final product.
  • Only use raw materials that come from animals used for meat production. 
  • Never accept materials from exotic, threatened or endangered species, as defined by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species.

Our approach is collaborative, working hand in hand with others who are tackling similar issues. We set, define and implement industry level solutions with animal welfare organisations, fellow brands, retailers, our suppliers and independent auditors. 

We also actively listen, welcoming challenges and criticism that can help us improve. Ensuring high standards of animal welfare means that the apparel industry must be accountable for the promises we make.

For the last 10 years, we have worked hard to eradicate animal welfare issues from our supply chain. We started banning fur in the 1990s and have been a Fur Free Retailer since 2013. To date we have banned the follwing materials and practices:

  • Live-plucking and force-feeding geese and ducks for down and feather production
  • The use of angora, real fur and mohair*
  • The practice of mulesing merino sheep
  • Bovine based leather from India, or leather with hair attached from China or India

*we will stop using mohair after the Autumn/Winter season in 2018

Read our animal welfare policy here

Our 2017 performance

Maintaining our Responsible Down Standard-certified supply chain

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 to our customers and sold 89% of our RDS-certified down jackets within two weeks.

In 2017, we conducted additional due diligence visits to RDS-certified supply chains to find out where further improvements could be made. Our visit showed that, in the future, we should rely less on local legislation to define our minimum requirements, instead implementing our own standards in markets where legislation is not stringent. We should also strengthen our standard requirements over time to ensure continuous improvement in animal welfare practices, and include a training module in our programme to drive awareness among suppliers.

Read more about Responsibly Sourced Down

Listening, investigating and taking action

We are constantly seeking to improve our practices. When legitimate concerns are raised, we take them extremely seriously. We listen and investigate to ensure the necessary action is taken. For example, when we discovered violations in our angora wool supply chain in 2013, we eliminated it from our entire product range because the supply chain was opaque and we understood that it would be difficult for us to ensure the welfare of all animals in the process.

Taking action on mohair

We have banned the use of mohair from the angora goat from Spring/Summer season 2019.