C&A says it is planning to sell 23 million organic cotton products in 2010, which equates to 10% of its total cotton products. The announcement from the European retailer came in its latest sustainability report, Acting sustainably - C&A Report 2010. In 2008, C&A sold 15.3 million articles of clothing made of organic cotton, a figure that was set to rise to 18 million items by 2009. “Within C&A’s complete cotton collection in 2009, therefore, as much as 8% was made of organic cotton, predominantly certified organic cotton from India,” the report said, making the company Europe’s
largest buyer of the raw material. “With our commitment to organic cotton, C&A was able to build a business of €200 million at retail by using organic cotton in 2008,” said Philip Chamberlain Head of Sustainable Business Development at C&A. “This has made us Europe’s largest provider of clothing made of organically grown cotton.” The report also outlines how since its last update in 2008, C&A and Organic Exchange have run workshops for more than 200 farmers from almost two dozen organic cotton projects in India, offering introductions to the theory and practice of growing cotton according to organic principles. The company has also been able to help finance social development projects, such as water collection systems, new wells and community water projects in the Akola district of the Madra Pradesh region. Organic cotton has featured heavily in C&A’s product portfolio since 2004. In 2005, the company became a member of the Organic Exchange and then in 2008, together with the Shell Foundation, initiated a five-year project in India to focus on scaling up our use of organic cotton. The intention was to establish a sustainable textile value-added chain that would eventually also be transferable to other regions of the world. At the end of 2009, C&A had 1,111 branches, 214 Kids Stores, 11 Clockhouse Shops and 17 Women Stores across 19 European countries, employing more than 36,000 people.
- Dawn Adams