Making fashion a force for good doesn't start and end with the supply chain. It extends into the communities where C&A colleagues, customers and garment workers live too.
Together with C&A, we enable volunteer programmes that support local charities and drive employee engagement campaigns to empower women. We also partner with humanitarian organisations to support people in emergencies. Together, we're giving back to communities. We're helping to make them strong so that they can thrive.
Women are at the heart of the apparel industry. About 80 per cent of all garment workers are women and many of them face incredible challenges. We know that when women and girls are healthy, educated, are economically and politically empowered, their children, families and communities prosper.
In 2015, C&A staff – most of whom are also women – showed their incredible passion for gender equality in our first-ever global engagement campaign. We asked colleagues in 28 countries around the world to support women's charities by sharing stories that pay tribute to an inspiring woman. Over 23,000 people responded, triggering donations of over €1 million that were shared between 53 organisations working to improve the lives of women in the communities where C&A operates.
Our long-standing community-giving programme in Europe channels C&A Foundation funds into local charities nominated by local C&A retail organisations. This programme gives C&A staff the opportunity to give back to the communities where they live and work.
Giving in this way is important. It means we can harness colleagues' knowledge of what their local community needs, boosting the effectiveness our grants. It also gives staff the opportunity to engage more deeply with their community.
Employees are encouraged to propose charities and programmes they are personally familiar with and they strongly believe in. These grants, which are sometimes modest in size, often represent sizable sums to these grassroots recipients and ensure their sustainability, making a big impact to communities.
We believe that engaged and enthusiastic colleagues can multiply our efforts in the communities where we work. And there is nothing more precious than employees giving their time, talent and efforts.
Whether through our smaller initiatives to help communities in India, or through the longer-standing established programmes in Brazil and Mexico, C&A staff are encouraged to give back through volunteering.
C&A employees do community work, run education programmes and organise events. Working closely with their charity partners, our volunteers are helping to build strong communities around the world.
Many countries C&A sources from are disproportionately affected by natural disasters. And Europe – where many C&A colleagues and customers live – is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in a generation.
That's why we partner with Save the Children. This multi-year, multi-million euro alliance supports thousands of mothers and children during emergencies, helping to build more resilient communities.
We fund disaster risk reduction programmes in countries that C&A sources from including China, India, Bangladesh, Mexico and Brazil. These pilot projects identify risks and hazards now so that communities can cope better when disaster strikes.
The partnership also allows Save the Children to quickly respond to crises. In 2015, we supported emergency response for families affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and flooding and drought in India. We also supported projects for children and families along the European migrant route.
12-01-17 As part of our global humanitarian partnership, support was given for the initial emergency response
13-09-16 Ray Kancharla of Save the Children India discusses a C&A Foundation partnership that is helping to build resilience and bring relief to mothers and children in Indian slums.