K Group press release, 5 July 2019  

 
K Group strengthens the responsibility of its supply chain by opening a daycare facility at a lighting plant in China
 
K Group is determined to take on a larger role in ensuring the responsibility of its global supply chain. As part of these efforts, in cooperation with the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR), K Group is opening a daycare facility for children on the premises of a lighting factory in China. K Group is the first Finnish company to take this initiative. The daycare facility will enable factory workers to remain close to their children during the summer months.
 
K Group wants to do more for the wellbeing of the employees of its partners in the global supply chain. K Groupis the first Finnish company to be involved in the Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) programme of the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR), which provides a safe and fun space for workers´ children to play, socialise, and enjoy family time. In K Group’s project, a daycare facility is being opened on the premises of a lighting factory for the summer months, enabling left-behind children of rural migrant workers to reunite with their parents. The factory supplies LED construction lamps for K-Rauta stores and Onninen stores.
 
“It is important for us at K Group to ensure that responsibility and human rights, including children’s rights, are respected in our supply chains. In China, migrant workers typically have to look for work far from their home region, and children are often left behind to be cared for by their grandparents. By providing childcare close to where the parents work during the summertime, our cooperation with CCR CSR helps us to take more extensive responsibility for the wellbeing of the people working in our supply chain and their families”, says Kesko’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility Matti Kalervo.

The factory selected for the project is in the north eastern province of Zhejiang, in the city of Ningbo. The city has a population of 8 million. A daycare facility for children of factory workers was opened on the lamp factory premises on Friday, 5 July 2019. K Group contributes to the cost of setting up the facility, furnishing it and training of the staff. 
 


Child Friendly Spaces are a way to help the families of migrant workers
 
In the Chinese countryside, there are millions of children whose parents have migrated to the cities to find work. One organisation that is addressing the plight of the children of migrant workers is the Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR). The organisation’s mission is to work with companies to improve the lives of children. CCR CSR has founded a programme called Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) to provide temporary facilities on the factory premises of a partner company where children can play and learn through a range of activities under the supervision of trained staff. Thanks to the daycare facilities, children of migrant workers can live with their parents for the summer months.
 
According to the Executive Director of CCR CSR, Ines Kaempfer, similar daycare facilities are already in operation on the premises of several factories throughout China.
 
“In cooperation with various companies, we have already set up a total of 76 of these daycare facilities in different parts of the country. Most of them are only open in the summertime, but some are open year-round. Over 2000 children have been cared for in these facilities, between the ages of three and thirteen. The feedback from parents and children has been very encouraging. 94% of parents reported spending more time with their child and getting closer to each other. 60% of parents said their children became more active and thoughtful after coming to the CFS. The Child Friendly Spaces also considerably improved worker satisfaction and retention for the factories.

 
Improving working conditions is a key part of corporate responsibility
 
K Group wants to invest in social responsibility and help to tackle global problems such as human rights and climate change. In terms of the likelihood of human rights violations being committed, China is classified as a high-risk country. When it comes to working with suppliers that operate in such countries, Kesko’s principle is to collaborate only with suppliers that are already included in the scope of social responsibility audits or that start the process when the cooperation begins. As a rule, the auditing is carried out using the Business Social Compliance Initiative amfori BSCI audits. This auditing system is also used in the lighting factory in question.
 
More information
Leena Takaveräjä, Sustainability Manager of Kesko building and technical trade division, leena.takaveraja@kesko.fi
Matti Kalervo, Kesko´s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, matti.kalervo@kesko.fi

 
K Group's building and technical trade

Kesko and K-retailers form K Group, the sales (pro forma) of which were around €13 billion in 2018. K Group is the biggest trading sector operator in Finland and one of the biggest in Northern Europe.

K Group's building and technical trade division offers its business and consumer customers extensive selections of products for building and home improvement and technical trade, and comprehensive multichannel services for building, renovation and building services engineering.
We serve our customers under the K-Rauta, Onninen, Byggmakker, K-Bygg, K-Senukai and OMA brands and we operate in eight countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus – employing around 17,000 people. In 2018, the division’s retail sales totalled €4.9 billion.

Find out more about Kesko and K Group at www.kesko.com