Dongguan Concord Pottery

Dongguan Concord Pottery makes ceramic cups and other items for a leading coffee shop brand. They employ around 3,000 people at their factory in Southern China. The company has worked with Save the Children’s centre for child rights and business in China (Centre for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility, CCR CSR) since 2013 in order to improve the situation for their workers who are also parents. The partnership has meant quick and tangible improvements, not only for employees and their children, but decreased staff retention and lower costs for the factory itself.

As a direct result of a training by CCR CSR on the impact on workers that have their children hundreds of miles away for years on end, a day care centre was started at Concord Pottery. With long term support from the brand the factory manufacture ceramics for it was possible for Lake Law, the head of corporate social responsibility to convince the owners to invest in children.

“We are a ceramics factory, we don’t know how to run a day care centre, so we had a lot of help from CCR CSR when we got started. We are also a for profit company and the day care centre makes business sense too,” Law says. 

There is a striking labour shortage in Southern China, recruitment is a constant worry for most factories; but after the news of Concord’s nursery spread recruitment got easier.

“It was quite a sight, I opened up the gates when we started recruiting again after New Year, and there was a long queue outside,” Law says. “It hasn’t happened in years.”

“The day care centre makes sense financially. It is hard to put an exact dollar value to it perhaps, but with workers’ happiness, better retention rates and ease of recruitment, we feel it is worth it. And it is also the right thing to do.”

In China more than 61 million children are left at home with relatives when parents migrate for work. Most of the workers at Dongguan Concord Potter come from far away.

“They have no access to services here for their children, so they leave them at home,” Lake Law says. “The strain on parents working far away from their children, and on the children also, is high. It is not easy. Now we encourage parents to bring their children. We have converted some of the factory dormitories to accommodate families. It makes sense, we need skilled workers, we need workers to stay. And training new workers cost money.”