Engaging and enabling our employees to be sustainability champions

As a global employer, we strive to engage our employees in making our company the very best it can be, from providing the best selection of affordable, quality clothing, to creating the best shopping experience for HER, our customer. At C&A, we commit to making every woman look and feel good every day, a commitment that includes delivering fashion with a positive impact. That’s why we’re engaging and empowering our employees to drive sustainability and enable our customers to act more sustainably.

Women are the heart of our industry—and our brand. They make up about 80% of workers in the apparel supply chain. The vast majority of our more than 60,000 C&A employees—about 80%—are women. And our target customers are women. There’s no question: women are at the very core of our industry, our brand, and our future.

Our ambition: Help customers act more sustainably

Going forward, we’re committed to making it even easier for our employees to connect with our customers and enable them to act more sustainably.

Our approach: Engage employees and inspire customers for sustainability

To achieve this ambition, we call on our more then 60,000 employees around the world to be proud and engaged ambassadors of our brand. Employees play a critical role in HER shopping experience and in bringing our sustainable fashion commitment to life. And they are the most effective and authentic way of reaching our customers in stores. In the coming years, we plan to involve employees across our regions to support our global sustainability strategy even more directly. We’ll do this by fostering an inspiring work environment where employees feel connected and where customers trust C&A as a responsible and sustainable brand.

For generations, our mission has been to bring out the best in HER—our customer—so she and her family can look good and feel good. Over the past 15 years, through campaigns and partnerships, we’ve brought sustainability into our stores. But enabling customers to act more sustainably requires a deeper level of understanding about what inspires them and what they expect of C&A. So, in 2015, we conducted extensive research in our key markets to learn how consumers view our sustainability performance and how they want to be engaged in our progress. Understanding HER gives us the tools to launch locally relevant campaigns that inspire and enable customers to act more sustainably.

Our 2020 goals:

Engaging Employees - Create a culture of sustainability among employees

  • Continuously increase employee sustainability engagement scores.
  • Support equality and diversity.

Enabling HER - Help customers to act more sustainably

  • C&A is recognized as the most sustainable retail fashion brand

 

In the short term—by the end of 2016—we aim to:

  • Communicate more about our strategies and progress to connect with consumers.
  • Continue rolling out our Code of Ethics across our global retail markets.
  • Conduct the second consumer research study to measure our progress.
  • Communicate with customers on sustainability issues like reducing CO2 emission, e.g. through washing with lower temperature.
  • Use the employee engagement survey to ask employees to rate C&A on our contributions to community, society, and the environment.
  • Continue employee engagement campaign Inspiring Women.
  • Continue the Save The Children partnership.

Our 2015 progress:

During the year, we made progress through engagement campaigns, research, and partnerships that involved and connected employees and customers. Highlights included:

  • Understanding our customers: Conducted our first-ever global sustainability consumer insights study to better understand customer motivations, perceptions, and preferences about sustainability.
  • More communication: Increased our outreach to customers on sustainable materials:
    • Europe: Launched brochure focused on more sustainable clothing options in our Spring 2015 kids’ collection and introduced our Saving Water jeans, made with 65% less water in the last stage of production than in typical finishing.
    • Brazil: First clothing retailer to offer a permanent collection made from more sustainable cotton.
    • Mexico: In-store campaign informing our customers about the benefits of organic cotton and of our Saving Water collection of jeans, which uses nearly 33% less water to make compared to conventional jeans.
  • Inspiring Women: Held our first global employee engagement campaign, along with C&A Foundation. ‘Inspiring Women’ raised more than €1 million for 53 charities that will reach 7,000 women worldwide. Over 23,000 employees participated.
  • Code of Ethics: Rolled out our global Code of Ethics for employees in Brazil, Mexico, and China, with plans to continue our rollout in Europe during 2016.
  • Mothers Make the Difference: As part of our global partnership with Save the Children, we brought together employees, C&A Foundation, and our customers in Europe and Mexico to support Mothers Make the Difference, which raises funds for mothers and children in disaster situations.
  • Supplier mentoring: Collaborated with C&A Foundation and Women on Wings to provide business knowledge and mentoring support for garment companies in rural India.
  • Providing sustainable options: Further expanded our selection of more sustainable products with recycled polyester fabrics.
  • Supporting society: In Germany, we were recognized for our positive contributions to society, via the annual Public Value Atlas evaluation.
newborn collection

Engaging employees

C&A employees bring our sustainable fashion commitment to life—in our stores and in their communities. By engaging our employees and supporting them in giving back, we can create a culture of sustainability. In turn, employees are empowered to enable our customers to act more sustainably as well.

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Highlights 2015

23,616

employees took part in Inspiring Women,
raising €1 million for charities that support women.

81% of employees in Mexico see C&A as environmentally responsible.

90% of employees in China rate C&A as socially responsible.

newborn collection

Enabling Customers

Helping HER, our customer, act more sustainably starts with listening. We care deeply about our HER preferences, expectations, and perspectives—on fashion and on sustainability—and we’re making it easier than ever to share ideas with us and for us to raise awareness about more sustainable products. From online surveys and blogs, to in-store brochures and clothing hang tags, we are communicating with customers about sustainability.

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Highlights 2015

7,600

consumers surveyed about their sustainability perspectives and interests.

 

€452,000 donated by customers at C&A stores in Europe to Save the Children.

64% of customers say C&A performs strongly in organic material.

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