Growing, manufacturing, and transporting the raw materials used to make clothes all have significant environmental impacts. From sourcing fibres to dyeing and finishing clothing, we're working to reduce water, energy, chemical use, and waste impacts.
More than a decade ago, we were one of the first major companies to take a lead in sustainable raw materials. We found we could make a positive difference with our purchasing decisions. Today, sourcing responsibly, with an emphasis on more sustainable materials, is part of our commitment to helping HER, our customer, look and feel good. In fact, sustainable materials not only help us reduce impacts, but also meet increasing customer demand for more sustainable clothing at affordable prices.
As one of the biggest denim retailers in Europe, we encourage young design talent to imagine the future of this versatile material. In 2015, we held our annual C&A Design Challenge with Amsterdam’s Jean School, part of House of Denim. Eight students recreated traditional denim styles as affordable, contemporary pieces, using sustainable materials and environmentally friendly production practices. C&A Foundation is also supporting House of Denim’s new facilities at Denim City, an innovation campus that features an upcycling centre.
Today, C&A China sources fabrics from multiple suppliers. To gain a deeper understanding of the fabrics we use, C&A China is creating a ‘fabric library’. Not only will this comprehensive database drive more consistency in the fabrics we use in our products, but will also let us check each fabric’s quality and environmental credentials before placing the order. The fabric library will also incorporate our findings on each mill’s chemicals management performance so we can confidently source fabrics from the best-performing mills.
C&A Foundation launched the online Fabric of Change challenge in 2015 with not-for-profit organization Ashoka. The three-year partnership fosters social entrepreneurs and their ideas to transform the fashion industry at all stages of the value chain. The winners earn €100,000 investment capital to test, refine, or scale their solutions.