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."