K Group strengthens responsibility in its purchasing by opening a children’s day care facility in a lamp factory in China

K Group is looking to take on an even bigger role in the responsibility of its global supply chain. As the first company in Finland, K Group has opened a children’s summer day care facility at a lamp factory in China together with the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR). This will enable factory workers to have their families close by in the summer.

K Group wants to bear more social responsibility in its global purchasing chain for the wellbeing of the employees of its business partners. As the first company in Finland, K Group has joined the Child Friendly Spaces programme by CCR CSR. The programme enables the children of migrant workers to move to cities and be close to their parents by offering the children day care in the vicinity of the parents’ workplace. A summer day care facility has now been established on the premises of a lamp factory that supplies LED site lighting to K Group’s K-Rauta stores and Onninen.

“For us at K Group, it is important to make sure that responsibility and human rights – including children’s rights – are realised in our supply chain. Migrant workers in China typically work far away from their original homes, while their children tend stay with grandparents in the countryside. Our collaboration with CCR CSR enables us to bear more responsibility for the wellbeing of the people who work in our purchasing chain and their families, by ensuring children are taken care of while the parents are at work in the summer,” says Matti Kalervo, Kesko’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility.

The factory is located in the eastern province of Zhejiang, in the city of Ningbo, which has 8 million inhabitants. The summer day care facility opened on 5 July. K Group has participated in the expenses for opening and decorating the facility, and in training the teachers.

Child Friendly Spaces one way to help the families of migrant workers

Millions of children living in the Chinese countryside have seen their parents migrate to cities for work. The social enterprise the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) aims to help Chinese migrant families and improve the lives of the children. With its Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) programme, CCR CSR is establishing, together with companies, day care facilities for children in the factories of the companies’ business partners. The day care facilities enable the children to live with their parents in summer.

According to Ines Kaempfer, the Executive Director of CCR CSR, there are several similar factory-adjacent day care facilities in China.

“We have now set up 76 day care facilities across China in collaboration with various companies. Most of them operate in the summer, but some throughout the year. The facilities have hosted more than 2,000 children between the ages of 3 and 13. Feedback from both the parents and the children has been very encouraging: 94% of the parents say they have been able to spend more time with their children, and 60% say their children have become more active since attending day care. Employee wellbeing has also improved and commitment increased,” Ines Kaempfer says.     

Improvement of factory working conditions an important part of corporate responsibility work

K Group wants to further strengthen its corporate responsibility efforts and tackle global themes such as human rights and climate change. China is classified as a high-risk country, i.e. a country with a high risk of human rights violations. Kesko’s principle in high-risk countries is to collaborate only with suppliers that are already included within the scope of social responsibility audits or that start the process when cooperation begins. The primary audit method is the amfori BSCI (amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative), which is also in use in the lamp factory chosen for this project.

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