“This campaign really connects to C&A's global sustainability strategy and it demonstrates that our colleagues are engaged with women's issues and with the company.”Head of Sustainability, C&A Jeff Hogue
Over twenty thousand employees worldwide take part in a C&A campaign to raise funds for women's charities and honour 'inspiring women'. Over €1 million will go to 53 charities around the world.
The Inspiring Women campaign, a first for the company, brought together 23,600 C&A employees in 28 countries around the world to support charities working to empower women. From China to Brazil, India to Mexico, over 50% of staff in C&A offices and stores took part by taking a selfie paying tribute to the woman who has inspired them the most. Every selfie and its story triggered a C&A Foundation donation that together raised a total of over 1 million Euros.
Leslie Johnston, Executive Director of C&A Foundation says they wanted the campaign to be different and fun for employees, while creating a powerful movement for women. “We wanted our colleagues to come together to support a cause we feel very strongly about. Women are at the heart of C&A as employees, customers and workers in the supply chain. 80% of garment workers globally are women. While women face tremendous challenges, we know that when they are healthy, educated and economically empowered, their children, families and communities prosper. Inspiring Women harnessed the power of tens of thousands of employees to be a force for good."
Internationally, the campaign supported Global Fund for Women, a worldwide charity advocating women's rights. Global Fund for Women Chief Executive, Musimbi Kanyoro, says the money raised through the campaign will make a difference to many women's lives.
“With this funding, our grantee partners will give women garment workers the skills, confidence, and tools to claim their human rights within the workplace. It will help women in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh learn about their rights to a fair and equal wage, safe working conditions, and equal access to the training, gear, and equipment."
In total, the campaign supported over 50 local charities with many working to improve the lives of women in the communities where C&A operates. Key issues range from education and domestic violence, to developing life skills and financial literacy.
During the campaign, C&A employees showed their creativity and passion through their selfies. An van den Wijngaerde from Belgium was one of nearly 10,000 C&A employees who chose her mother as her biggest inspiration. Although An's mother Lucienne died 25 years ago, she says she still influences her every single day. “She helped me to learn to deal with difficult situations, to listen in case there were problems or difficult issues to be discussed. She was always ready for others, freed up her time to listen and helped them to overcome their problems. I am proud that I can say she was my mum."
While this campaign was a first for C&A, its success proves what employees can do when they work together. “I'm proud of what we have accomplished," said Jeffrey Hogue, C&A Chief Sustainability Officer. “This campaign really connects to C&A's global sustainability strategy and it demonstrates that our colleagues are engaged with women's issues and with the company. In the coming year, we will be looking for innovative ways to turn this unique event into an ongoing effort."
For more about the campaign and the results see iw2015.org