January 29th, Business Sweden and the SSB project, in co-operation with the Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai and Centre for Child-Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) held a round table discussion on Young workers in China and the challenges they meet.
The meeting was held in the office of Business Sweden in Shanghai and representatives from twelve different companies were attending. The companies were Atlas Copco, Elektroskandia, H&M, IKEA, Jula Postorder AB, KappAhl, LKAB, MQ, Prestando, Scania, SKF and EKN.
Linda Backteman, Consul, opened the meeting and invited all the participants to introduce themselves. Then followed presentations from Sanna Johnson, Executive Director of CCR CSR and Lin Wang, Social and Environmental Manager of IKEA Trading Ltd. Sanna Johnson spoke about CCR CSR and how they help and encourage companies to enforce children´s rights. She emphasized that businesses also have responsibility for the development of children and presented the newly adopted The Children’s Rights and Business Principles. Representatives from CCR CSR also presented the study they have made on young migrant workers and how to help and train them to improve their life skills and communication with managers as well as train the managers in understanding the young workforce. There were also discussions on how factories treat young interns and the draft of new regulations improving the situation for this group of workers.
Lin Wang from IKEA Trading Ltd presented the IKEA sustainability strategy Growing IKEA Together and also their Business and Children Rights program. The aim for IKEA is to be the leader in people’s homes and strive for long term profitability. With their Business and Children Rights program, IKEA always want to act in the best interest of the child and have multiple programs supporting children and empowering women and mothers around the world.
The discussions that followed the presentations primarily focused on the legislation regarding child labor and young workers and the practical means and issues with enforcing the law. Some good ideas for a follow-up event were also raised and the topic seemed of interest to all the participants.
For questions and more information on the Round Table Discussions on Young Workers, please contact Hanna Elving, Project manager for Swedish Sustainable Business in China, hanna.elving@business –sweden.se or Emma Bengtsson, Intern at Swedish Sustainable Business in China, firstname.lastname@example.org