C&A Mexico was established in 1999, and today operates 75 stores in 40 cities, providing more than 150 thousand customers daily with quality fashions for the whole family at affordable prices.
Labour issues are a key challenge for C&A Mexico. Many garment workers in Mexico lack job security by working informally without labour contracts or social security numbers—partly due to a lack of understanding of contracts and their rights as employees. With new legislation on wastewater in effect, there is also a growing focus on preventing harmful chemicals entering streams, lakes, and rivers. As with C&A’s other regions, it’s important in Mexico to create awareness for more sustainable clothing among our customers.
C&A Mexico is expanding the use of organic cotton in children’s clothing collections. We introduced an in-store campaign to raise awareness among customers of the benefits of organic, and we’ll also create a tailored plan to meet C&A Global’s 2020 goal to achieve 100% more sustainable cotton. This will include work as members of the Better Cotton Initiative. Furthermore, we’ll establish an inventory of raw materials, focusing on cotton first, and develop a strategy for sourcing more sustainable materials that includes evaluating potential suppliers.
In 2015, C&A Mexico introduced a new water saving denim range that requires nearly 33% less water (on average) to produce than conventional jeans.
The majority of C&A Mexico’s suppliers—90 companies, or 60%—are based in Mexico, and we share the remaining 40% with C&A Europe. In 2015, the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy recognized our efforts to improve supplier performance with a Responsible Business Award.
As well as complying with the Mexican government’s legislation on wastewater, we support C&A’s global push to eliminate harmful chemicals from the global supply network by 2020. For example, in Mexico we’ve been working with our 30 key suppliers regarding C&A’s and ZDHC’s chemicals management requirements, including adherence to our Restricted Substances List. We’ve also begun developing a better understanding of practices at key suppliers’ wet-processing mills, and will appoint an independent third party to conduct mandatory wastewater testing.
We’re committed to protecting workers in our supply network. So, in 2015, we launched a national competition inviting university students to create an infographic showing the benefits of labour contracts and how they work.
As with C&A globally, giving our employees an opportunity to play a part in their community is a fundamental part of engaging them with the business and on issues that matter to them. In 2015, we held our eighth volunteer day giving our employees opportunities to volunteer in their communities, including by supporting Fundación C&A—the Mexican office of C&A Foundation.
C&A Mexico participated in C&A’s first global employee engagement campaign, Inspiring Women, raising money for two charities in Mexico that empower women: Red Niu Matat and Cordem. As part of the global rollout of the new Code of Ethics, we trained all our employees on what the Code of Ethics means and why it’s important.
In December 2015, C&A Mexico held a Save the Children fundraising event in seven stores in Mexico City, sharing information and selling Christmas cards to raise funds to support the Save the Children Risk Reduction Program in Acapulco, Guerrero state.
Through our Denim Made in Mexico campaign, we highlighted that the majority of C&A Mexico’s denim products are made right in Mexico, supporting more than 4,000 families. Through research, we discovered that customers would prefer to buy denim made in Mexico (76%) than receive a discount of 50% on a second pair of jeans—and they appreciate that we support the country’s economy with more local jobs and better working conditions.
Established in 2000, Fundación C&A has actively supported underprivileged communities in Mexico by helping garment workers secure a better quality of life. In 2014, Fundación C&A funded important research, led by Insitum, into the working conditions of seamstresses in Mexican factories. Among other findings, they discovered that seamstresses lack the opportunity to gain new skills, and that there is no nationally recognized certification for their levels of expertise. With the National Chamber for the garment industry, CANAIVE, Fundación C&A aims to help 1,000 garment workers acquire proven skills and experience by 2017, partly through training and by helping to establish a national certifying body.
Fundación C&A also partnered with IMIFAP (Mexican Institute for Family and Population Research) to establish a worker health and safety programme in 14 Mexican factories. Through a series of workshops and conferences, it reached more than 1,100 managers and workers, helping participating factories reduce absenteeism by 75%. Workplace satisfaction also increased by 117%, which had a direct impact on productivity because factories reported a 38% reduction in faulty or damaged products.
In 2015, for the eighth year running, Fundación C&A hosted a volunteering day for C&A Mexico employees to involve them in supporting their communities. In 2015, more than 70 employees supported Galilea 2000 A.C., a shelter for vulnerable people at Guadalajara’s civil hospital, to help improve the living conditions of patients and their families. This included upgrading the garden, children's area, and bedrooms, as well as printing t-shirts to be sold to raise funds for their transportation costs to go home.
Fundación C&A also sponsored two events focused on sustainability, innovation, and social responsibility: ELAC, organised by Ashoka Mexico (on supply chain collaboration), and Fashion Green Mexico (on making sustainable fashion desirable to consumers).