Age-old problems, new solutions

Posted by C&A Foundation on Jun 14, 2016

The problems facing our industry might not be new, but the ways in which we tackle them need to be if we are to make fashion a force for good. The latest C&A Foundation Annual Report, published 23 June, shows how we are using collaboration and innovation to transform the apparel sector.

Building on our previous report, which outlined the key challenges the fashion industry is facing, this year's edition highlights the solutions we are putting in place together with our partners.

Leslie Johnston, C&A Foundation Executive Director, says: “Just 18 months ago, we relaunched C&A Foundation as a global foundation with an ambitious goal: to make fashion a force for good. This year's report focuses on the solutions we're working on to achieve this. The challenges in our industry are too great for one organisation to solve alone. So our success depends on our many industry partners, from fashion brands to grassroots NGOs."

Many of our projects show promising solutions. For example, we are proud to be working with C&A, other brands and stakeholders in a collective initiative called Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA). Together, we can drive demand and create the right conditions for organic cotton to flourish.

“Just 18 months ago, we relaunched C&A Foundation as a global foundation with an ambitious goal: to make fashion a force for good. This year's report focuses on the solutions we're working on to achieve this. The challenges in our industry are too great for one organisation to solve alone. So our success depends on our many industry partners, from fashion brands to grassroots NGOs.”

Executive Director, C&A Foundation Leslie Johnston

In the area of forced labour, our partners at GoodWeave are applying lessons and successes from the handmade carpet industry - once notorious for child labour - to the apparel sector. We have also made strides in tackling forced and bonded labour in textile spinning mills in Tamil Nadu, South India through our hotspot approach.

At the same time, to improve working conditions for garment workers we are exploring the feasibility of new ways to increase transparency and accountability in the global apparel industry and improve purchasing practices. For example, with seed funding from C&A Foundation, Better Buying is establishing a new system that allows suppliers to anonymously rate brands on their purchasing decisions. The aim is to open honest dialogue between buyers and suppliers.

Closer to home, in the report we highlight how our connections with C&A are also driving change. Whether that is mobilizing by our C&A colleagues and customers to support our humanitarian partnership with Save the Children, or through our volunteering programmes and employee engagement activities.

Through all of our partnerships, we've been testing many ways, or levers, that we believe will contribute to a fairer global apparel industry. Each of our partnerships addresses different issues and uses different methods, but with each we have learned that to create lasting change, we need to think – and act – differently. The year 2015 has given us a solid platform on which to continue disrupting the status quo so we can truly make fashion a force for good, for everyone in the industry. We invite you to read our report online and tell us what you think of your C&A Foundation.