Making a bigger impact with C&A

See how we're working together with C&A to make fashion a force for good.

We are a corporate foundation. We share the same heritage, values and approach to sustainability as C&A. This means we can harness the power of C&A's supply chain and colleagues to drive real change within our industry.

For example, right now, we're using C&A Sourcing's expertise in supply chains to eliminate forced labour.

In C&A stores, employees are volunteering with local community organisations. And C&A's customers are generously donating to the projects we support.

Our partnership is about more than simply working together: it's about inspiring each other and creating a vision that we can all get behind.

Save the Children staff play with newly arrived refugee children at a child-friendly space in Italy

Mothers Make the Difference: humanitarian partnership with Save the Children and C&A

By teaming up with C&A and Save the Children, we're harnessing the power of C&A colleagues and customers to make a difference to thousands of women and children in need.

Why Save the Children?
In 2015, we joined forces with C&A to make Save the Children our humanitarian partner. Many of the communities C&A sources from are prone to natural disasters, and with much of the Save the Children programme focused on risk reduction and relief work, it seemed like a logical partnership.

Both C&A and Save the Children are global organisations. Both have huge reach. But, we wanted to use that reach in a more strategic way to help us achieve more, together.

How does our partnership work?
Each year we donate €3 million to Save the Children. About half of that goes to year-round disaster risk reduction (DRR) programmes, while the other half goes to supporting families in the aftermath of an emergency.

The disaster risk reduction work strengthens the communities in the apparel supply chain. We're piloting innovative approaches to DRR in urban settings in C&A's top five producing countries – including Bangladesh and India. So if disaster strikes, those communities are better able to bounce back.

For emergency response, we have a flexible fund that Save the Children can easily access to quickly respond to a crisis. It acts as seed funding and can unlock further funds. Thanks to this fund, Save the Children is able to unlock six times as much from other donors.

But, our ambition is high. We want to share this partnership and our common commitment to mothers and children with our C&A colleagues and customers.

C&A stores have engaged customers around the world. They've donated around €150,000 from collection boxes, and triggered €175,000 more in C&A donations from buying cards for Mother's Days and Christmas.

By raising this extra money, our retail employees are actively engaging with causes that are close to both C&A and C&A Foundation. And because they're so passionate, they pass this enthusiasm on to the millions of customers who shop in our stores and who give so generously. With more money and greater awareness for our work, we can do more.

How we supported Save the Children

C&A colleagues share their selfies and stories of the women who inspire them during our two week campaign

Inspiring women

When we worked with C&A to launch our Inspiring Women campaign, we were overwhelmed by the response. And it all started with a selfie.

Women are at the very heart of C&A. They plant, pick and stitch the cotton in C&A's clothing; they make up the majority of store staff; and they are C&A's target customer. Women and gender issues are also key to transforming the apparel industry as a whole. Bringing this to life for C&A colleagues and connecting them with women's issues is very important to us. But how?

The answer – a selfie. We invited colleagues to upload a selfie accompanied by a short story of a woman who'd inspired them onto a custom-built online platform. Every selfie triggered a donation to either a local charity working with women or one international charity. By celebrating the women that inspired us, colleagues had a chance to support women in their communities.

Inspired by women
The response was phenomenal. "Participation was double what we expected, receiving nearly 24,000 posts in two weeks, and C&A Foundation donated over a €1 million to 53 non-profit organisations," said Catherine Louies, PMO Global Sustainability at C&A.

But equally rewarding was that over half of the selfies featured stories of inspirational mothers, aunts or grandmothers. By recognising that they're surrounded by powerful women in their daily lives, our colleagues felt immediately connected to other strong women around the world.

The impact
After the Inspiring Women campaign, two out of three employees said they talked about the charities C&A Foundation supported with family and friends, with over half saying they'd personally donate to the charities as well.

As Ilan Vuddamalay, Programme Manager at C&A Foundation explains, "This campaign showed us how C&A colleagues together, can create a powerful movement and make a difference to many women across the world. We raised awareness about women's empowerment by drawing on everyone's own personal and inspirational experiences."

C&A volunteer reading to girls in front of the Chocolatao Communitiy Library in Sao Paulo Brazil

The power of volunteering

For 25 years, C&A employees in Brazil have not only been volunteering with charities – they're helping to shape them too.

When employees join C&A Brazil, they're also given the opportunity by Instituto C&A to support local charities in their area. And because it's the volunteers themselves who pick the groups they support, they develop a deep emotional connection to their charity, which fosters an ongoing sense of commitment and fulfilment from their role at C&A.

By unleashing the power of volunteering, Instituto C&A has a huge reach. "In 2015, there were 3,500 active participants in the programme, representing around 288 C&A stores," says Giuliana Ortega, Head of Instituto C&A. "All over Brazil, charities are benefitting from the skills and extra support C&A employees can bring."

How volunteers make a difference
Whether it's holding fundraisers, running education programmes or organising activities, volunteers work closely with their charity partner to provide the support and guidance they need to thrive.

Volunteers often report that they feel part of something bigger. "It's so rewarding to show your solidarity with those who need

your help," says Lia Batista, a C&A store administrator for 14 years. "Doing good feels good, so volunteers stay with C&A for longer. I tell everyone I meet about my work and encourage them to get involved."

And every year, C&A rewards volunteers who've had a real impact by inviting them to a three-day-long recognition event. There, they celebrate their work and get inspired from others' successes.

The future of volunteering
Since 2015, the volunteers have been focusing on raising awareness of environmental issues and human rights issues within the apparel industry – especially with children.

"I see the programme reaching out beyond simply educating to setting an example for other companies in Brazil," Priscilla Soares, a C&A store manager who has been volunteering for 16 years, explains. "By acting as change makers in their neighbourhood, our volunteers are passing on what they know to build a better world for the future."

3,500

C&A volunteers from 288 stores in Brazil

Our results in 2015

we mobilised: