Right now, our industry isn't working for the good of the 150 million people who make our clothes. Our preference for fast, trendy and affordable fashion leads to severe forms of just-in-time production at the lowest cost possible. It means cotton farmers handle dangerous pesticides that harm their health and the environment. Factory workers make clothes in dangerous conditions, and struggle to make ends meet with their meagre wages. Forced labour is rife but stays hidden in complex, murky supply chains.
We believe this can change. We believe fashion has the power to improve the lives of the men and women behind our clothes. We believe fashion can be a force for good. Our mission is to transform the industry to make that happen.
We're a corporate foundation. We share the same heritage, values and approach to sustainability as C&A. And we work closely together to find the best ways to drive change.
With over 60,000 employees, millions of customers, as well as factories and suppliers in markets across the world, C&A brings another dimension to our work. Because of our partnership, we have first-hand insight into the market when we're helping farmers grow organic cotton. Our partners have the chance to test their initiatives in factories and with suppliers. And we have the potential to create 60,000 ambassadors in local communities.
When Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer founded C&A in 1841, they built a business and set a powerful idea in motion: doing business as an integral part of the community.
As the business grew, that spirit continued and a number of corporate foundations were set up to complement their private charitable giving. Instituto C&A in Brazil (1991), Fundación C&A Mexico (1999) and C&A Foundation (2011). They were founded to improve lives wherever C&A operates through educational, health and disaster relief initiatives.
Given the deep-seated challenges of the global apparel industry, we felt we could do more. So, in early 2014, we began to reorganise our three C&A foundations to align against one single vision: to make fashion a force for good.