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 includes six steps:
Our key stakeholder groups
We have identified a number of stakeholder groups across our focus areas. These areas include sustainable sourcing, the circular economy, our environmental impact, safe and fair working conditions in our supply chains, inspiring and enabling our customers to act sustainably, and engaging our employees. While this list includes many stakeholder groups we engage on a regular basis, we invite anyone to start a conversation with C&A on any topic. Contact us here.
|Our key stakeholder organisations|
|Business & Human Rights Center||Human rights due diligence|
|Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)||Workers’ rights|
|Clean Clothes Campaign||Workers’ rights|
|Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)||Workers’ rights and living wages|
|Freedom Fund||Workers’ rights and bonded labour|
|Four Paws||Animal welfare|
|Greenpeace||Sustainable Chemicals Management|
|Human Rights Watch||Workers’ rights and freedom of association|
|Arisa (formerly Indian Committee of the Netherlands)||Workers’ rights and migrant labour|
|IndustriALL||Workers’ rights and living wage|
|InPacto - National Pact to Eradicate Slave Labour Institute||Workers’ rights and bonded labour|
|International Labour Organization (ILO)||Global partnership for workers’ rights|
|Responsible Sourcing Network||Cotton sourcing|
|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 2018, we expanded our engagement with stakeholders as we updated our 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.
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.
Our most significant partner is C&A Foundation, who have been on a mission to make fashion a force for good since 2014. 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. Fashion for Good – the world’s first collaborative innovation platform for sustainable fashion — is one recent example: this industry-wide initiative was launched by C&A Foundation, with C&A as one of its first brand partners. Fashion for Good supports the development of circular fashion, with other leading brand partners such as Kering, adidas, PVH, Target, Zalando, and Stella McCartney, among others. In 2018, we continued our work with Fashion for Good to help transform the apparel sector by supporting the Fashion for Good-Plug and Play Accelerator Programme for start-ups and the Scaling Programme to encourage adoption of innovations, as well as the Good Fashion Fund to catalyse access to finance, the creation of guides for use in developing Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM apparel, and the Fashion for Good Experience—an interactive museum for sustainable fashion innovation.
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 Module – a key sustainability tool – which will benefit the apparel sector as a whole. Industry convergence by way of the widespread adoption of the Higg Module is key to the success of the SAC.
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 28 signatory brands, 81 value chain affiliates, and 17 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.
ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation)
ACT works 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.
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, we are deeply committed to the good work of the Accord, and we believe it is the best way to address the Bangladesh apparel industry’s fire safety challenges.
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.
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 2018, as part of our commitment to the partnership, we updated our roadmap and progress toward our stated goals.
Going forward, we would like to see such national initiatives coordinated 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.
Social and Labour Convergence Project (SCLP)
In our effort to support common industry standards to address current challenges, C&A is part of the Social and Labour Convergence Project (SCLP). This is the most thorough effort to create a converged assessment framework that promotes collaboration, reduces the number of audits suppliers receive, and frees up resources that will be redirected to support remediation and prevention throughout the supply chain. More than 200 members, including brands, multi-stakeholder initiatives, audit firms, and NGOs, support SLCP in its journey.
During this year, the SLCP has launched the Light Operations programme, which aimed to test and learn from the joint assessment tool in two selected countries — Sri Lanka and China. As a result, 131 facilities were assessed and verified. C&A participated with 12 factories. Results will be publicly available on the SLCP website. In January of 2019, C&A was elected by the SLCP members to represent the brands in the Steering Committee.
|Collaboration or partnership||Since||Role|
|Sustainable Fiber Alliance (SFA)||2019||Member|
|Make Fashion Circular||2018||Participant|
|United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP)||2018||Signatory|
|Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute||2017||Certification Standards Board Member & Board member|
|Fashion for Good||2017||First corporate partner and 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
|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|
|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||2013-2018||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||Signatory and Board member|
|Brazilian Association of Textile Retailers (ABVTEX)||2010||Member|
|Partnership for Cleaner Textiles||2010||Member|
|Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)||2010||Founding member|
|Global Social Compliance Programme||2008||Board Member|
|Textile Exchange||2004||Board member|