Engaging employees Driving purpose through sustainability

Motivated, informed, and engaged employees are the key to C&A’s success. Our in-store team members are the people who create special relationships with our customers. We need to make sure we always understand what makes employees feel valued and motivated, so they can contribute to great customer experiences and feel engaged in the issues they care about most.

 

We want all C&A employees to feel empowered and motivated to build sustainable practices into their day-to-day roles. We believe in bringing out the best in us all, so that together we can bring out the best in our customers, their families, and their local communities. By engaging employees through our sustainability initiatives, our Inspiring World campaign, giving back, and assisting in our work on strengthening communities, we can make the most of these opportunities.

Many employees – especially those from younger generations – want to feel a sense of purpose from their work, so during the year we continued focusing on employee engagement as a key lever for sustainability at C&A and beyond. In addition, our 2019 consumer survey indicated that treating employees well is a strength for C&A and that our performance in this area is perceived to be strong. Consumers also told us that gender diversity and inclusion in our workplace is an area of perceived strength for C&A and should be encouraged.

Listening to our employees

Equality and Diversity

Learning and Development

Our 2019 actions

Continue providing opportunities for employee training and development.

Engage employees worldwide through the Inspiring World #BeTheChange campaign.

Our 2019 performance

Employee engagement in sustainable actions
Involving employees in sustainability takes many forms in our four retail markets and licensees, including information, training, direct engagement opportunities, and campaigns such as Inspiring World. In some retail markets, we also use surveys to collect employee feedback. However, while our Europe and Mexico retail markets and Brazil licensee conducted employee surveys from 2016 to 2018, they did not repeat them in 2019. The China retail market conducted surveys from 2017 to 2019, with the 2019 survey having a limited scope. Despite this, the 2019 employee engagement survey results were positive. In 2019, 88% of C&A China employees surveyed strongly agreed that they are proud of C&A's contributions to communities, society, and the environment.

Given that the scope of the survey has changed over the years amongst the retail markets and licensees, we are evaluating the applicability of this metric going forward.

 

Inspiring second-year outcomes for Inspiring World

In 2018, we launched our Inspiring World campaign, engaging employees in developing ideas for positive change and partnering with C&A Foundation[1] to make donations benefiting some 250,000 people. In 2019, we went a step further and shifted from ideas to action by encouraging employees to commit to a 'small action for big change', a step they pledged to take for sustainability. Also in 2019, C&A Foundation[2] donated almost €1 million to charities chosen by employees and to the global organisation Canopy, which is working to eliminate sourcing from Ancient and Endangered Forests.

Our overall objective for Inspiring World is to build employee capacity for supporting our 2020 sustainability goals by engaging them over three years on campaigns aligned with our strategy: Sustainable Lives, Sustainable Products, and Sustainable Supply. During its second year, the campaign involved:

  • 63% of C&A global employees
  • 20 countries and a number of sourcing hubs

My small action for big change is to...

  • Vermeide Einweg-Plastik (avoid single-use plastic). Sandra, Switzerland
  • Evite consumir plástico descartáve (avoid consuming disposable plastic). Julia Porto, Brazil
  • Plantar un árbol (plant a tree). Alícia Macarena, Spain
  • Wir unterstützen C2C Kleidung und stehen für den Klimaschutz (support C2C clothing and stand for climate protection). Marcel Baer and Christoph Teschner, Germany
  • Gebruik het openbaar vervoer, pak de fiets of loop naar het werk (use public transportation, take a bike, or walk to work). Pleun, the Netherlands
  • Recicla latas, garrafas e papel (recycle cans, bottles, and paper). Ana Francisco, Portugal

 

[1] In January 2020, C&A Foundation became part of Laudes Foundation.

[2] In January 2020, C&A Foundation became part of Laudes Foundation.

Who we’re working with

Where next?

Fostering deeper understanding of sustainability commitments and achievements

Going forward, we will continue to increase employee understanding of C&A’s commitment to sustainable fashion and our leadership in developing Cradle to CradleTM Certified clothing, encourage them to become local sustainability ambassadors, and help them feel proud to work for the company.

Other 2020 actions will include:

  • Continuing to engage with employees through Wear The Change and Inspiring World
  • Providing additional information to make sure employees are aware of the many environmental and social benefits associated with our Cradle to CradleTM Certified clothing
  • Raising awareness among employees about sustainability issues relevant to the local markets in which they work
  • Communicating our new global sustainability strategy and goals once they are announced in 2021