The urgent need to improve conditions for garment workers and address critical health and safety issues has made headlines in recent years. Apparel businesses, including C&A, are taking steps to increase transparency and raise standards in these complex supply networks. And with 900,000 people in the C&A supply chain from Bangladesh to India, we are committed to helping lead this transformation. This includes empowering garment workers by exploring ways to create dialogue between workers and management and improving grievance mechanisms. We are also addressing safe and fair labour issues by working to eliminate hazardous chemicals as part of our ZDHC commitment. This work started in 2015 with the auditing of 52 mills deeper into the supply chain.
The challenges our suppliers and production units face vary, depending on the political, social, and economic factors in their countries and communities. From supporting freedom of association in Cambodia, to eliminating bonded labour in India, we work to understand diverse local issues and human rights issues to support sweeping change, where collaboration and partnership is key.
The C&A Supply Chain in 2015
|Number of suppliers worldwide||750|
|Number of production units||2,700|
All suppliers and facilities must comply with our Code of Conduct and undergo our audits. At the same time, we understand the value of influencing the wider system. That’s why we’re increasingly joining forces with other international brands, policymakers, trade unions, and non-governmental organizations. In 2015, we joined a new collaboration to promote living wages, and took part in a new responsible supply chain initiative in Germany - the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. And of course, we continued our support for the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety.
We have suppliers in more than 40 different countries. Our five main sourcing countries produce around 79%. Our supply base is generally stable, with few supplier changes from year to year. But that doesn’t mean we are not always looking to improve, and we’re working to make sure that 100% of the clothing we sell is produced by A-and B-rated suppliers. To support this continuous improvement, in 2015 we raised our standards and published a new Code of Conduct. In time, we anticipate this will result in a better, more sustainable supply chain.
Supplier ratings by shipped quantity
To address these five industry challenges and meet our goal of safe and fair working conditions for everyone in the C&A supply chain, we’re raising standards across the board.
This work starts at home - right in our own organization. In 2015, we strengthened governance in our sustainable supply chain (SSC) approach, beginning separating policy ownership from execution in the field. Now the Global Sustainability Team owns the strategy and policy and the SSC organization ensures that the strategy and policy is implemented. SSC focuses on improving conditions for workers in the C&A supply chain through three channels:
In our Code of Conduct we have set the following minimum requirements on working conditions and human rights in our supply chain:
C&A respects the human rights of everyone who contributes to our business. In 2015, we began a multi-year human rights due diligence process across the C&A value chain. Bearing in mind the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the project seeks to understand the human rights risks, impacts, and opportunities our business faces in the supply chain, retail operations, and local communities. After an organizational, high-level gap assessment in 2015, we‘re focusing on our supply chain—evaluating human rights issues on the ground in our production countries and assessing how our sourcing and buying practices can directly or indirectly affect human rights of workers and their families.
We’re working with experts from Deloitte to evaluate our processes, business practices, and decisions—all mapped against the most prevalent human rights issues in our sourcing countries. Among other things, we’re using shadow and validation audits in the field to evaluate C&A’s impact on human rights in suppliers’ production units. During 2016, we plan to update our findings and set up an action plan to align with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Read our Code of Conduct.
By turning the
safe & fair labour challenges into opportunities by partnering with our stakeholders.
By expanding worker voice platforms to
of our suppliers' factories in Turkey with LaborVoices in 2016.
By supporting human rights and legalization of migrant workers, including
we helped in Brazil in 2015.