We’re committed to making sure our workplaces and policies allow our employees to contribute their very best, fulﬁlling their potential and addressing customer needs. Each of our regions has the ﬂexibility to address diversity as is locally relevant. For instance, C&A Brazil maintains a Diversity Committee, which has been working on diversity across ethnic origin, gender, and LGBTQ+ issues. Annually, C&A Brazil also raises awareness through actions such as Diversity Week; a Pride Collection; and a variety of recruiting fairs dedicated to minorities, transgender people, and immigrants. In 2019, C&A Brazil provided actions for Black Awareness Day and the launch of the Pride Collection during the LGBT+ pride month, as well as programmes to recruit transgender people and immigrants.
Committed to the Women’s Empowerment Principles
In 2018, C&A signed the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, committing the company to gender parity and the empowerment of women. Women are the driving force behind the apparel industry and our brand, and gender equity is an important principle of C&A’s culture. We communicated our commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles internally through a variety of media, including letters, video, and live in-store events. Our regions have since developed roadmaps for implementing the principles.
Since the announcement, C&A headquarters and our four retail markets have developed market-speciﬁc roadmaps to drive progress implementing the principles. This work draws from the principles gap analysis tool developed by the United Nations and BSR, and aims to address a set of 12 questions developed for each principle, with region-specific implementation.
We remain committed to improving the situation of women worldwide: in our own company, in our supply network, and in communities around the world. Women are the driving force behind the apparel industry and our brand. Just as the majority of our customers and employees are women, so are most of the people making our clothes.
Through partnerships, as well as diligent programmes to ensure safe and fair workplaces throughout our supply chain, we are working to lift and empower women throughout the apparel industry.
C&A employees by gender and contract type
C&A employees by contract type and location
Our commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles is in line with our activity in partnership with C&A Foundation, which actively worked in 2019 to achieve gender equity in the apparel industry. We strongly believe that to fundamentally transform fashion into a force for good, gender inequality and violence against women must be addressed.
In each of its philanthropic programmes, C&A Foundation has worked with partners to promote women's voices, leadership skills, and the capacity to exercise their rights. Looking ahead, Laudes Foundation will continue to execute on the ambition to incorporate equity, inclusion, and diversity in its partnerships and operations.
 In January 2020, C&A Foundation became part of Laudes Foundation.
C&A is committed to equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin, religion, ideology, sexual orientation, or disability. We support fairness and transparency in our way of working, with our employees and suppliers, and through our Fairness Channels – the tools we use to identify and address any issues that arise internally or with suppliers. C&A Mexico also expanded the Fairness Channels to suppliers, providing them with a way to share input about C&A employees.
Our stores clearly display the names of C&A contacts for concerns or questions. We deal with any concerns rapidly, working to ﬁnd the best solutions for all parties. Of course, we also comply fully with anti-discrimination laws in the countries where we operate, and encourage diversity across all our departments. All job roles, promotions, and rewards are awarded purely on the basis of merit. Should any issue of potential discrimination be reported, the executive board takes appropriate measures to investigate and resolve it.
Our transparency commitment and practices were reviewed and rated number 2 in the 2020 Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index. This review of 200 global fashion brands and retailers ranks companies according to their level of disclosure about their social and environmental policies, practices, and impact. Notably, we were also ranked number 1 in the 2019 Fashion Transparency Index Brazil, which analysed 30 brands.
Doing business ethically has been central to our company since it was established 179 years ago. In line with our values, we have a deeply rooted respect for others, a passion for serving our customers, and a keen appreciation for trust and responsibility. Today, maintaining our high ethical standards is an important way of meeting our customers’ expectations – and our own. Our global Employee Code of Ethics outlines how employees should behave, what a good working environment should be, and what good leadership looks like.
Respecting human rights
C&A respects the human rights of everyone we work with. Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Employee Code of Ethics are guided by the latest best practice on human rights, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Additionally, we conducted a human rights gap assessment and are determining how our buying practices could affect human rights issues in our supply chain, and if needed, how to address any issues.
From this foundational work, we are now conducting human rights due diligence of our supply chain, including our sourcing and buying practices. We have a rigorous auditing process and maintain a zero-tolerance approach to serious issues at our suppliers’ production units.
We are engaged in a pilot project to understand the steps needed to develop a sustainable and scalable approach to reducing excessive working hours, while maintaining decent salaries for workers. Suppliers have been asked to analyse the practices within their factories that could lead to excessive working hours, and C&A used the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) purchasing practices questionnaire to understand how our purchasing could exacerbate or improve the issue. To date, all but one of the pilot factories in Bangladesh saw a signiﬁcant reduction in working hours, and have maintained this achievement. In China, the pilot factory took longer to reduce excessive working hours, but has achieved this gradually and maintained the decrease over time.
We also have continued our work on purchasing practices. We have adopted the ACT Global Purchasing Practices commitment and are working on a time-bound implementation plan that includes a monitoring and accountability mechanism.
We also conducted additional due diligence visits to RDS-certified supply chains to determine where improvements could be made.
Going beyond responsible marketing
C&A communicates with many diﬀerent people around the world. We want to create products everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or size, and recognise the need to reﬂect this in our advertising campaigns and choice of models. Through our advertising, we aim to share our values and positive attitude to life. So, when we’re developing new advertising campaigns, we will continue to avoid content that could be seen as discriminatory, defamatory, or hurtful. We apply the same rigour to complying with the laws and guidelines of national advertisers’ associations.
Beyond our duty to advertise responsibly, we communicate actively with customers on sustainability, such as through our global #WearTheChange outreach, which connects with all of our customer-facing sustainability activities.