Samsung Electronics

Save the Children has been working together with Samsung Electronics China to set up ambitious policies on child labour prevention and training all managers in China on children’s rights and how to practically approach issues specifically relating to young workers.

Samsung Electronics is one of the largest information technology companies in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people employed directly and indirectly across the globe.

Samsung released a Child Labour Prohibition Policy in China in 2014, which was developed in close collaboration with Save the Children’s implementing partner CCR CSR. The new policy is used both in-house and with all of Samsung’s suppliers.

Frank Du, vice president and in charge of Human Resources at Samsung Electronics in China, is firm when he speaks about the company’s dedication to children and their rights. He is aware of the issues and difficulties facing a company of Samsung’s size with a complicated and large supply chain. Making sure suppliers comply with policies is notoriously difficult.

“Suppliers may have a different view at the beginning, but we have a policy, a rigid policy, there is no argument. No room for argument.”

Samsung now conducts random audits of it’s suppliers as part of the new policy. Every supplier can expect to be checked at least four times in a year. The program is considered a powerful and effective way to deal with child labour and other compliance issues.

CCR CSR is continuously involved in training all of Samsung’s mangers in China on children’s rights and labour law.

The policy goes beyond detailing preventative measures for child labour and also addresses measures to protect juvenile and student workers – a group that comes with high risks and special legal protection but is high in demand.

“We worked on this new child labour policy together with CCR CSR. And we have had trainings and internal processes to make sure all the products, from design to delivery to the market, follow these policies. We have a lot of capacity in the company, but the support from an external consultant was absolutely essential,” Frank Du says.

Dealing with the rights of children is new to many companies. The concept is not something that many companies in China even consider and some see it as an unnecessary expense. Frank Du has a different approach:

“To be in business is not only making profit, we also have the obligation to contribute to society. And our products have a big impact on children.”

“We believe that sustainable growth and development of the business is key. It might sound expensive in the short run to consider children’s rights. But in the long run... It is the right thing to to.”

“To start working with CRBP might seem difficult. Some smaller companies might think they don’t have this capability internally. But as a good example, we have been working with CCR CSR and they have offered strong support. And with our internal commitment, we can make it.”

“Starting for ourselves, from our beliefs is the most important thing. We truly believe that the child labour issues shall be eliminated. And we truly believe that we shall respect and support children’s rights.”