C&A is committed to protecting animal welfare and the environment where animals are raised. To this end, we uphold the Five Freedoms for animal welfare and environmental standards when there is potential for significant impact.
How we approach animal welfare
Our policy on animal welfare states that we will:
Our approach is collaborative, working hand in hand with others who are tackling similar issues. We set, define, and implement industry level solutions with animal welfare organisations, fellow brands, retailers, our suppliers, and independent auditors.
We also actively listen, welcoming challenges and criticism that can help us improve. Ensuring high standards of animal welfare means that the apparel industry must be accountable for the promises we make.
For the last 10 years, we have worked hard to eradicate animal welfare issues from our supply chain. We started banning fur in the 1990s and have been a Fur Free Retailer since 2013. To date, we have banned the following materials and practices:
How we approach environmental protection in animal agriculture
We recognise that animal welfare is not the only impact of animal-based fibre production. For several animal-based fibres, including wool and cashmere, we apply industry standards such as the Textile Exchange's Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). This standard focuses on improving environmental resilience and increasing regenerative agriculture through rangeland stewardship and best practices in land management at the herder level.
Maintaining our Responsible Down Standard-certified supply chain
C&A continues to source 100% RDS-certiﬁed down for all of our collections that contain down or feathers.
During the year, we continued applying our ﬁndings from 2017, when we conducted additional due diligence visits to RDS-certiﬁed supply chains to determine where further improvements could be made. Our visit showed that, in the future, we should rely less on local legislation to deﬁne our minimum requirements, instead supporting RDS to make sure it sets minimum standards that can be applied in markets where legislation is not stringent. We should also strengthen the standard requirements over time to ensure continuous improvement in animal welfare practices and include training modules to drive awareness among suppliers. This work continued in 2019.
Safeguarding animal welfare in cashmere production
For the last few years we have focused on cashmere with the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA), a non-profit international organisation working with the extended cashmere supply chain, from herders to retailers.
Currently, more than 25 international brands and retailers have joined SFA, united in a goal to implement the Sustainable Cashmere Standard to preserve and restore grasslands, ensure animal welfare, and secure livelihoods. The SFA provides an excellent forum to jointly identify actions that address three main objectives:
Ceasing the use of high-risk fibres
We believe animals can be treated with dignity and respect. In several cases, we have detected higher risk in some animal-based fibre categories, leading to our decision to cease their inclusion in our products. Currently, we have identified fur from the Angora rabbit and mohair from the Angora goat as fibres no longer used in C&A collections.
We will continue our work with SFA to extend sustainable and humane practices throughout the entire cashmere supply chain.