How we report Leading industry standards and a balanced view

Each year we report our performance against our 2020 Global Sustainability Framework using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2017, we transitioned from GRI G4 Guidelines to GRI Standards and have applied the GRI Standards to our 2018 report as well.


About our report

Unless otherwise stated, all data relates to our global performance for the business year 2018. Our data is based on science – and where that is unavailable, we take a precautionary approach. 2015 is our baseline year for measuring progress against our goals. Where possible, we have compared our performance to that of previous years and reported regional and global figures. We’ve also tried to present a more balanced view; for every major topic we talk about our challenges as well as the progress we’ve made.

Reporting scope and boundaries

As a privately-held company, we do not report on economic performance. We strive to report on all other standard disclosures as specified in the GRI Standards.

Unless otherwise specified, we report on our entire value chain. We work with our tier-1, tier-2, and tier-3 suppliers to disclose information, where available. We are working closely with supply chain partners to create a closer link between farmers and farm groups and our tier-3 and tier-4 supply chain.


We strive to provide accurate and precise data. However, there are inherent uncertainties in certain data sets. All our data has been collected and consolidated with Credit360. Internal subject matter experts have validated the data. We have used state-of-the-art Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods to calculate greenhouse gas emissions and water use data; however, uncertainties may rise due to the assumptions used in the model.

In 2017, we used data from garment care instructions and a customer survey on garment use. This information helped significantly reduce uncertainty compared to last year. The customer survey collected data on actual (1) washing/drying habits of C&A customers by garment type, (2) washing machine technology used, and (3) the number of wears per wash for high impact garment categories. Assuming a random sample, the margin of error for each of these parameters was quite small (+/-3% or less depending on the market). The survey was not repeated in 2018.

The carbon and water footprints associated with cotton, specifically Better Cotton (sourced via a system of mass balance and self-reported by fabric mills) is derived from a weighted average of BCI’s results indicators. The methodology used and results presented have not been verified by BCI.

Standards of practice

When collecting data or calculating impacts, we only use industry-recognised or multi-stakeholder-developed guidelines and standards:

  • Employee data: Obtained from our transactional Human Resource systems. Practices follow industry standards for identification of gender, management levels, and contract types. The employee engagement survey was rolled out by an independent third party to ensure confidentiality.
  • Cotton and raw material data: Obtained from our internal systems for order placement and sales.
  • Climate and carbon footprint data: Obtained from core financial data and modelled using hybrid, input/output LCA methods, combined with C&A business data, by Aligned Incentives. All methods used followed the WBCSD/WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard. In the case of water, we applied both the Aligned Incentives hybrid LCA methodology and the Water Footprint Network methodology for green, blue, and grey water impacts. Location- and market-based emission factors for electric grids were based on data from the International Energy Administration (IEA), country-level reported factors from the Brazilian Government, and residual mix factors from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB).
  • Limited assurance of GHG Inventory – C&A voluntarily engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (PwC) as an independent audit firm to conduct a limited assurance engagement on selected non-financial performance indicators disclosed in the Sustainability Report 2017. PwC conducted the limited assurance engagement in accordance with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised) to verify that the indicators disclosed comply with the principles stated in the G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative.
    Part of the engagement focused on assessing GHG inventories across scope 1, 2, and 3 in C&A's retail markets in Europe, Brazil, Mexico, and China. Through this work, PwC was able to assure GHG inventories for Europe and Brazil, which make up more than 90% of C&A's scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG inventory. In Mexico and China, C&A has been using the results and recommendations of the assurance engagement to further develop reporting processes, strengthen the internal control system, and formalise data collection.
  • Customer data: Obtained through a survey of over 6,000 consumers in our major markets. Survey design and analysis was conducted by GlobeScan.
  • Human rights information: We work to identify human rights issues through our internal SSC processes and by employing third parties like Deloitte to conduct independent reviews. Our human rights due diligence follows the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
  • Chemicals data: During 2018, we adopted the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg 3.0 module.
  • Materiality: Our analysis follows the GRI definition of materiality. We have not used the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) definition in determining material aspects. We reassess materiality each year. The material aspects of our work did not change in 2018 from 2017, although we have discussed them in more detail in this year’s report.

Read about our material issues

What we mean when we say...

C&A is a buying and retailing organisation; we do not own any factories. It is important to understand what we mean when we use the following terms:

  • C&A, the company, us, we, or our: This refers to our owned legal entities that fall under the C&A brand. Unless specified, it refers to all retail and sourcing markets for C&A. It does not refer to our holding entity, COFRA Holding AG, or any of their non-C&A-related subsidiaries.
  • C&A Foundation: C&A Foundation is a private corporate foundation associated with the C&A brand. They work to positively transform the entire apparel industry, of which C&A is a part, in order to make fashion a force for good.
  • Suppliers: This refers to independent third parties that we have a contractual relationship with. Our suppliers operate their own businesses and manage factories.
  • Factories or production units (PUs): These are the actual locations where garments are produced under the control of our contracted suppliers.
  • Global Sustainability Team: This includes our leadership team composed of internal leaders in sustainability and our retail market colleagues. This team owns the global sustainability strategy and the policies that govern risk management, compliance, and sustainability performance and leadership.
  • Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC): This refers to our social and environmental auditing function where the policy and strategy is led by our Chief Sustainability Officer and the execution is owned by each regional CEO. SSC is an execution function that is governed by second- and third-party oversight.
  • Sustainable Chemicals Management (SCM): This refers to the topic of management related to Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) within our supply chain.


We believe that being transparent helps to drive better practices across the industry. In addition, transparency is important to our stakeholders and is becoming increasingly important to our customers. In this report, we strive to cover not only positive progress and detailed analyses of our supply chain, but also the challenges we have faced along the way.

To this end, we have been ranked second out of 55 brands assessed in the fourth annual Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI).

C&A also placed in the number 4 spot among the most transparent brands in the 2019 Fashion Revolution Transparency Index, a review of 200 global fashion brands and retailers according to their level of disclosure about social and environmental policies, practices, and impact. We increased our overall score since the previous index and once again received high scores for our commitments, governance, gender equality, sustainable materials, and other disclosures. In addition, C&A Brazil was recognised in the number 1 spot for 2018 in that country’s Fashion Revolution Transparency Index, which analysed 20 fashion brands. C&A ranked #1 for policy, commitment, and governance, and scored high in other categories, such as traceability. [1]

We collaborate and share information with our partners, suppliers, and other brands. Each year, we publish a list of our suppliers’ tier-1 and tier-2 factories and locations.

See the full list of our suppliers’ factories here.


[1] C&A Foundation is a core funder to Fashion Revolution and the index.