At C&A, we want to bring sustainability to the mainstream. We want our customers to trust us to do the right thing, so they can buy our products conﬁdent that they were made transparently and with respect for people and the environment. Ultimately, we want our customers to join our call to action through #WearTheChange.
We are coming to the end of our ﬁrst 5-year sustainability strategy, which will close the end of February 2021. This initial strategy was developed with an aim of embedding sustainability across our business and increasing our sustainability leadership in retail markets. Along with creating this global alignment throughout C&A on our top-level aspirational goals, we also provided ﬂexibility in how the goals are achieved in our retail markets, to meet local needs and to drive innovation. Over 2019 and 2020, we have been working on our next sustainability strategy, which will focus even more on connecting with our customers and engaging our employees.
To make sustainable fashion the new normal, we focus on the most relevant areas for our business as well as those where we can have the largest positive impact. We then align our approaches across our four retail markets. For a closer look at our strategy, view this video.
2020 global sustainability framework
We don’t want our customers to have to choose between what’s sustainable and what’s not. To achieve this, we are making sustainability an integral part of how we design and source our clothing. We focus on sustainable materials – especially cotton, one of our largest volume raw materials – and ensure that our clothing has been sourced and made in a way that respects people, the environment, and animals.
We also collaborate across the industry to create a collective movement towards doing more good and creating innovative and open-source circular models for garment production.
The apparel supply chain is complex. C&A’s encompasses around 1 million people, employed through 635 global suppliers, with more than 1,700 production units. That means our supply chain — beginning with agriculture — accounts for a signiﬁcant proportion of our footprint: for example, 90% of our water footprint. This is why our emphasis on the supply chain is so important. We focus many of our eﬀorts on sustainable agriculture, drive social and environmental performance in our supply chain, and apply innovation to revolutionise the production system.
C&A is a global retail fashion company that touches the lives of about 51,000 employees, 1 million apparel workers, and millions of customers each year. What we do and the way we do it has a large impact on many diﬀerent groups of people. That is why we focus on empowering our customers to make more sustainable shopping decisions, support the livelihoods of workers in our supply chain, and engage our employees as sustainability ambassadors.
Defining our material issues
Each year we evaluate the material sustainability issues and impacts of our business to ensure we remain focused on the most important issues and impacts of our company, value chain, and industry. This process involves a detailed assessment and prioritisation, summarised below. This year, through our evaluation, three issues increased in both importance and impact — circular fashion, labour practices, and waste management and recycling. Notably, in 2020, working closely with our suppliers to address both the initial and ongoing effects of the pandemic throughout the supply chain has become an important issue and one we continue to focus on.
2019 materiality assessment update
Since our initial materiality assessment in 2013, we have continued to review our material issues in the context of stakeholder input and importance to our business. In 2019, we again updated our materiality assessment and consulted four important categories of input:
Drawing from this input, we refreshed our materiality assessment to identify the top material issues — those deemed most important by our stakeholders and for our business. The results, as shown in the chart below, reflect this review and the ways in which the most material issues have been incorporated into our 2020 sustainability goals. Other material issues — such as quality, product safety, and responsible marketing — remain part of our ongoing business approach.
Over the reporting period, several developments influenced our evaluation of the impact on our business and the level of concern to stakeholders. These include:
 In January 2020, C&A Foundation became part of Laudes Foundation.
Click or tap a plot point to see the associated goals.