Clas Ohlson

Clas Ohlson is a leading hardware retailer in Sweden with over 200 stores in five countries. They source almost 70% of their products from Asia. Save the Children has supported Clas Ohlson with a child rights focused assessment of their entire value chain and continues to offer on-site support to factories in China.

When the Children’s Rights and Business Principles were launched, Clas Ohlson, a leading Swedish hardware retailer, decided to make a full assessment using the principles to identify how they affected children in their business operations. Combined with strategic efforts in the supply chain in China, this has led to Clas Ohlson now being a strong public advocate for the Children’s Rights and Business Principles and the value of what cooperation with Save the Children can achieve.

“Working with children’s rights is a natural extension of our intense focus on high environmental and social standards in our supply chain,” says Klas Balkow, CEO of Clas Ohlson. “The cooperation with Save the Children is long-term and very valuable for us.”

Clas Ohlson is a company with almost $1 billion in revenue and 76 million customers in five northern European countries. They source almost 70% of their products from Asia. Save the Children’s child rights focused assessment of their entire value chain focused not primarily on child labour issues, but on the situation of the many Chinese workers who migrate for employment and leave their children behind.

“Our focus issue when working with Save the Children is in the migrant worker situation, and there we can really have influence together with other companies,” Klas Balkow says.

In 2014 Clas Ohlson joined Disney, HP and ICA to found the WeSupport project together with Save the Children’s implementing partner CCR CSR. WeSupport is a combined training and networking platform that was created to respond to the needs of workers and to minimize potential risks to factory operations. WeSupport aims to engage management and workers through in-factory trainings and innovative tool development to assist in child labour prevention and remediation, to engage young workers, to strengthen management and to offer parental guidance to migrant parents.

Clas Ohlson has also been working with CCR CSR on a three-year project to support two community centres in industrial zones in China. Working closely with factories and local schools, it is expected that at least 300 children of migrant workers and 1,000 migrant parents will be reached with education, recreation, health and social integration services.