Founded by Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer in 1841 in the Dutch City Sneek, C&A has been in business for 175 years. As a family owned business with deeply rooted values, C&A puts its customers, employees, and communities first and measure sustainability in generations. This approach took root from the very beginning, when C&A made ready-to-wear clothing available to all. Now we’re building on this vision by addressing sustainability issues the apparel industry faces in its value chain. This means improving the way we design, buy and sell our products to create fashion with a positive impact for people and the environment.
A key focus of circular economy for C&A is ensuring that the raw materials used in apparel is from the most sustainable sources. This is why the company has pursued organic cotton for over 10 years and is the current world's largest buyer of organic cotton. Because cotton comprises 60% of their collections it will remain a key focus, leading to a goal that 100% of cotton in all C&A collections is more sustainable by 2020.
This leadership, including the focus on other more sustainable sources of raw materials, like recycled polyester, RDS certified down, FSC certified viscose, will be key for C&A to evolve their circular economy strategy including recycling of garments, C2C certified collections, and collaboration with the C&A Foundation on incubating and accelerating technologies that support the circular economy in the apparel industry.
In partnership with C&A Foundation, C&A aims to create a new future for apparel production by making a commitment to enabling the use, reuse, and rebirth of clothing.
In 2016, the C&A partnership will create a hub focused on incubating and accelerating technologies that support the circular economy in the apparel industry. The hub will contribute to deeper industry collaboration, putting in place the incentives and structures to develop and deploy the technologies needed to start creating endless flows of fibres and clothing. More specifically, the partnership will provide research space, financial support and mentorship to develop and commercialize next generation manufacturing technologies.
The hub will also pursue blue-sky innovations that have the potential to fundamentally transform the industry to do more good. The joint aim will be to transform the broader industry through the creation of open-source solutions that can be adopted by all actors in the apparel industry.