Giving back and volunteering Making it easier to give back

Giving back is key to C&A and our employees, many of whom generously donate to and volunteer in their local communities. We aim to make it easy and rewarding for our colleagues to do so, bringing individual actions together to create an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. From in-store fundraising to volunteering, we’re mobilising thousands of C&A employees around the world to play their own part in tackling societal issues, through programmes run in partnership with C&A Foundation. As always, we allow each region to define how and where they would like to give back to ensure their experience is impactful at a local level. 

Our 2018 performance

C&A Together across Europe

Our long-standing community giving programme, C&A Together, channels C&A Foundation funds into charities nominated by local C&A retail organisations to support the wellbeing of children. It means we can harness our colleagues’ knowledge of what their local community needs, boosting the effectiveness of our grants. It also gives employees the opportunity to engage more deeply with their community.

In total, 142 different initiatives in 18 European countries received €2.9 million between March 2018 and December 2018. C&A Foundation funds were distributed in various ways, including:

  • C&A France dedicated its Back to School campaign to C&A Together. For each children’s item sold, C&A Foundation donated €1 to Secours Populaires Français, giving €100,000 in total to support disadvantaged children throughout France with school materials for the new academic year. Following the Back to School employee volunteering campaign, C&A Foundation donated €40,000 to Secours Populaires Francais.
  • At the Vienna City Marathon, employees from C&A Austria ran with and for the Red Nose Clown doctors, which C&A Foundation supported with a sponsorship of €120,000.
  • C&A Germany, with the support of C&A Foundation, supported the Mittagskinder Foundation with €105,000. More than 200 children at ‘social hot spots’ in Hamburg receive free and regular healthy meals, homework assistance, and socio-educational support, including an extensive exercise programme.
  • Other C&A Together giving programmes during the year included support for children’s cancer research in Spain, a ‘heart for children’ programme in Germany to raise funds for children in need, a ‘share your energy’ campaign in Austria, and the Belgium and Luxemburg Child Focus Run for missing and exploited children.

Read more about C&A Together with C&A Foundation


When an employee of our Beijing store was badly injured in a fire, her colleagues generously donated almost €20,000 (RMB 147,769) to support her medical treatment, followed by additional funds to support her medical care, and frequent visits by her store manager and area manager. During winter of 2018 and early 2019, C&A China donated 300 pieces of winter clothing to residents of Tianfu County in Chongqing Province so that local children could have a comfortable winter. This project was in cooperation with the Beijing Women and Children’s Development Foundation and ECT Fund.


Case study: Supporting and celebrating immigrant families

The Instituto C&A volunteering programme at C&A Brazil’s headquarters has been in place for three years. In 2018, some 137 employee volunteers participated in 10 events, more than the previous year, and the events extended beyond the headquarters location to include friends and family members.

The presence of children volunteering was a joy to behold during the Immigrant Children's Day, held in October at CAMI - Centro de Apoio e Pastoral do Migrante, where 67 adults and 12 children volunteered.

‘It was an opportunity for families to help, to give example, to teach, to learn, to thank, and to have fun with children’, says Flávia Fernandes, IT specialist, who participated in the event with her husband and their young son, Joaquim.

While the children were having fun, the immigrant mothers participated in a round of talks on human rights and working conditions — an activity carried out monthly by CAMI.

‘Taking part in volunteering with Lilian, my wife, was an unforgettable day of welcoming children and, also, a day of reflection for us. My daughters, 8-year-old Lívia, and 4-year-old Larissa, had the opportunity to take part in the activities and had the opportunity to understand, at least a little, the challenges of immigrant children in Brazil, and how much we should reach out to them. We thank C&A Foundation Brazil for the opportunity’, says Ricardo Gomes, of the C&A ​​Trade Union Relations department.

Instituto C&A also increased the number of partnerships in the Volunteering Programme at the headquarters, supporting four new organizations related to the fashion industry: Mulheres de Paraisópolis (AMP), Barueri Amparo & União Social (BAU), Centro Social Carisma, e Centro de Apoio e Pastoral do Migrante (CAMI). During the year, short- and medium-term events took place online and in person, attracting 171 volunteers.

Developing our employee volunteering programme in Brazil

Instituto C&A has run an employee volunteering programme in partnership with C&A since 1991, and the programme has 1,541 volunteers among our stores all over the country.In 2018, for the first time, more than 260 C&A store managers were invited to spend an entire day volunteering their time and services to a partner from the C&A Foundation Strengthening Communities Programme. In addition to donating their time to worthy causes, the leaders had opportunities to become more involved in the volunteer cause, so they could inspire their own teams.

Other volunteering activities revitalizing spaces, such as the school library and the sports area, at Marechal Deodoro Public School, holding a charity bazaar to raise funds for Carisma, instructing immigrants on how to create a curriculum vitae for employment at CAMI, and planting a new garden at OCA.

By the end of 2018, the store volunteering programme had 126 employee teams participating, with 38 selected as finalists for the 2018 Volunteer Award, which recognises those teams with the most highlighted initiatives during the year. More than 1,700 actions were carried out during 2018, benefiting 16,000 people in 83 institutions in Brazil. In addition, 256 stores and three distribution centres participated in these initiatives, representing 93% of C&A locations in Brazil, as the programme has steadily grown in recent years. C&A Brazil also has a volunteering committee, with representatives from each C&A division.


Volunteering for disaster relief and recovery

For the past 11 years, C&A Mexico has sponsored a volunteering day for its employees at headquarters, and 2018 was no different. About 230 employees — all headquarters employees — packed emergency kits for people affected by natural disasters. Along with Save the Children, C&A delivered 4,000 kits containing first aid and personal hygiene products. C&A store and distribution centre employees also wrote postcards with encouraging words for the people receiving the kits. Employees preparing the kits also received training on what to do when an emergency strikes, and in addition to benefiting children and families in need, the volunteering activities support team building, leadership skills, and pride to work for C&A.

Read more about volunteering on the C&A Foundation website

Balancing global and local approaches

Our communications approach is localised to ensure we engage and enable our customers to act on issues they care most about. Customers have told us that our charity work in their local communities could be more focused. It can be difficult to get the right balance between supporting local and global causes and charities, but we believe both approaches are necessary to balance local interest and capitalise on our scale and reach. 


Where next?

Giving back and volunteering

In Brazil, we will maintain the partnership with Instituto C&A for our volunteering programme, with the aim of continuing to grow employment involvement and the number of people served through a variety of volunteering events.

In Mexico, plans include a special one-day, in-store campaign to be held in four cities — Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana, and Culiacán. Customers who buy more than $499 pesos (€25) in items at the store will have access to a workshop where they can paint a worry doll. For every worry doll our customers take home, C&A Foundation will donate three worry dolls to Save the Children (up to 900 worry dolls overall, worth €2,700), which will be delivered to children in the migrant caravan in Tijuana to help them cope with stress.