Just like other industries, the fashion sector is implementing strategies to reduce its carbon footprint. C&A is among those doubling down on sustainability efforts in Mexican operations.
According to C&A’s Sustainability Report 2022, the company mitigated 2.3 million kg of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the amount generated by 791 cars in circulation for a year. Moreover, C&A saved approximately 154,919 m3 of water through improved manufacturing practices. “Nine out of 10 denim pieces were labeled as Bio-Wash, meaning that during their washing process, they saved at least 60% of water compared to conventional washing, which uses 80L of water per garment," the report reads.
The report highlighted C&A efforts to strengthen its productive chain by evaluating their main suppliers against the highest standards of environmental management, including the Restricted Substances List in Manufacturing (MRSL) from the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals program. According to the fashion company, 71.5% of their merchandise purchases are covered by the program. Likewise, C&A managed to have 86% of its purchasing volume come from production units with the highest ESG ratings, according to its auditing criteria.
In Mexico, more than 13,000 tons of waste end up in landfills every year, of which 1.4% corresponds to textile waste, according to data from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). In Mexico City, 182t of textile waste is generated on a yearly basis and only between 0.2% and 5% are recycled, causing a serious environmental impact. To fight this, C&A collected more than 6t of garments in 2022, which depending on their conditions were either reused or recycled.
Furthermore, 35% of the materials used in the clothes marketed by the company come from sustainable sources. "Every year, we strive to have more suppliers use environmentally certified materials, such as cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI); viscose material aligned with the CanopyStyle Initiative, which promotes sustainable forest management, as well as recycled materials certified by the Global Recycled Standard, Recycled Claim Standard or their equivalent," states the report.
C&A has aligned its corporate goals with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). By 2030, the company aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% compared to their 2017 baseline.
According to the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), the fashion and textile sectors must transition toward a circular economy to make its production more efficient, both from an economic and environmental perspective. In a report from 2019, CEMDA pointed out that globally, less than 1% of the materials used in this industry are recycled to produce new clothing, resulting in a loss of over US$100 billion every year.
Regarding environmental performance, the textile sector is one of the most water-intensive industries in the world. For instance, it requires over 10,000L of water to produce 1kg of cotton for clothing manufacturing. Additionally, it is responsible for 20% of the world's wastewater and 10% of the CO2 emissions.