Strengthening communities Making a positive impact on the communities we touch

Many of the countries C&A sources from are disproportionately affected by environmental or social issues, ranging from poverty and tremendous gender inequality to extreme weather and disease. All of these issues adversely affect the communities we source from and those where C&A employees live.

To truly strengthen the most vulnerable communities, we have to get to the root cause of these complex challenges. We work in partnership with C&A Foundation to address these challenges and try to bring people on the journey with us. We run volunteer programmes that support local charities, maintain in-store giving opportunities that allow our customers to play a role in supporting community charities, seek to change perceptions, and drive societal change. We are also partnering with Save the Children and C&A Foundation to help communities become more resilient and respond to disasters.

Giving back and Volunteering

Disaster Relief

Our 2018 performance

Helping children and families across the world

Over the past three years, C&A Foundation has provided partnership funding of over €10 million to Save the Children, and in 2018 we renewed our partnership for three more years and another €10 million. In 2018, the partnership reached more than 8 million people, of whom around 4 million are children. 


Evaluating and improving our partnership

In 2017, C&A Foundation commissioned an independent evaluation of the partnership and its programmes. We used this opportunity to learn about how to improve not only the effectiveness of the partnership on the ground, but how C&A as a business works with NGOs in unique partnerships. During 2018, we worked closely with Save the Children and C&A Foundation to learn from those lessons and design the next phase of our partnership. This is what we learned and how we have responded:

  • Impact takes time. We need to ensure that partners take time to discuss a programme’s engagement and scope – being realistic with timeframes, and clear on roles and responsibilities.

As a result, we streamlined our partnership governance internally to improve strategy and decisionmaking.

  • Seed funding works. When responding to emergencies, seed funding helps to provide a rapid response and scale up operations. In Ethiopia, C&A Foundation funds were recycled two to three times, which leveraged a further US $20 million. However, this isn’t measured systematically so we’re working to improve KPIs for seed funding. This includes asking for feedback from beneficiaries to aid learning and improve future responses.

We have continued this format for supporting emergency responses – quick release of flexible funds with KPIs to monitor the feedback from beneficiaries. In addition, Save the Children Switzerland has launched the Children’s Emergency Fund to leverage other donors for seed funding. Funds raised through C&A Europe’s Christmas activities and donation boxes will go to the Children’s Emergency Fund.

  • Programmes need to be long enough. To see results at scale – including policies being implemented in countries and tools for disaster resilience being embedded in communities – programmes should last a minimum of five years.

Save the Children increased its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme to 5 years, building upon the previous 3 years’ work.

  • Focus on local government. Many countries already have policies in place, but these aren't being enacted. We need to ensure that local authority and government have the capacity to implement them.

Save the Children is now focusing on the second phase of its DRR programme, aiming to improve risk reduction and resilience of urban communities to mitigate and manage shocks and everyday risks. This includes strengthening child-centred, gender-sensitive, and inclusive risk reduction and resilience policies at national and local levels, and building capacities of institutions, organisations, and individuals to build resilience.

Disaster relief

Through our Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme with C&A Foundation and Save the Children, we’re helping communities become more resilient to daily risks and prepare for larger disasters. Since March 2018, C&A Foundation and Save the Children have responded to 10 disasters, established the Children’s Emergency Fund, and disbursed €1.14 million to help children and their families. Between January 2018 and February 2019, our customers also donated over €604,081 to Save the Children. 


Children’s Emergency Fund

The Children’s Emergency Fund is a fund to which different donors contribute throughout the year, so that it exists before an emergency occurs. This prepositioned funding allows Save the Children to initiate the first response within 48 hours after a crisis occurs, which immediately saves lives and alleviates suffering of the affected population. In this way, the Fund has an immediate and direct impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children and their families. The goal of the Children’s Emergency Fund is to raise more than €879,000 (with the goal stated as 1 million CHF) in the first year, with an annual target of nearly €2.2 million (2.5 million CHF) by 2021.

C&A Together

Between March 2018 and December 2018, C&A Foundation provided funding of €2.9 million to 142 initiatives in 18 European countries. The recipients were chosen by our employees via our C&A Together community giving programme. 

Read more about our disaster relief efforts

Read more about our charitable partnerships