C&A is aiming to build a more transparent supply chain with its latest initiative.
Last week, the global apparel retailer disclosed the details of its more than 2,000 suppliers from 40 sourcing countries. C&A published the supplier list in its new sustainability report, which included the addresses and names of the suppliers, number of workers and product category of its entire Tier-1 (cut and sew production units) and Tier-2 (printing, laundries and embroidery) production units.
“Transparency leads to more accountability and behavior change: our priority is to ensure that the working conditions in our supply chain are upheld to our standards and the social and environmental performance continually improved,” C&A global chief sustainability officer Jeffrey Hogue said. “By being transparent about where our products are made, our customers and stakeholders can feel confident we are making good choices in the partners we work with and how our clothing is made.”
Today, C&A’s supply chain involves more than one million people that are employed through 788 global suppliers. These suppliers oversee more than 2,000 production units. In 2015, C&A enacted its first transparency effort by publishing the addresses and names of its Tier-1 suppliers where C&A merchandise, including apparel and accessories, are produced.
In its new global sustainability report, C&A said it disclosed its supplier list for three core reasons: to be completely transparent about where its products are made, to improve worker rights within suppliers’ factories and to provide an open channel to problem-solve major labor issues.
C&A currently assesses suppliers based on the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s (SAC) Higg Index, which is universally used by many major apparel brands. The company updates its audit protocols annually to reflect transparency progress within its supply chain. To further promote transparency, C&A is working with a new set of zero-tolerance issues, including excessive working hours and failure to pay minimum wages, which will be taken into consideration for suppliers from this year forward.
By 2020, C&A aims to have 100 percent of its products derive from top-performing suppliers and go beyond auditing to fully engage workers in its global supply chain.