Sustainability blog: Our journey

We know that the world in which our customers will be living in the future will fundamentally change the expectations of us as a company.

By continuously disclosing the steps we are taking, we hope to engage and motivate our stakeholders to join us on our mutual journey from here to sustainability.

Co-workers on field trip to China

May 2016

Karoline says how proud she is by the way in which all our shipments are rigorously checked before they leave the factories in China.

For a few years now, we have had our own operations in China with our own local purchasers and auditors. As a step on the path towards improving our understanding of our sustainability work internally, we have created the opportunity for our co-workers to learn more about what we are doing to develop the supply chain and contribute to the local community.

Karoline Gustafsson works at the Distribution Centre in Insjön and was one of the six co-workers given the opportunity to go on the trip to China. For her the trip was an unbelievable experience.

“I really appreciate everything we got to see and experience together with the group and I learnt a lot about our sustainability work in China, both at the factories where the products are made and in the children's centre in Nanjing where we co-operate with Save The Children to help migrant workers and their children have a better life.”

Karoline Gustafsson.

“The visits we made to two factories in China have taught me that the products really have a long journey to make before they reach the Distribution Centre in Insjön where I work and receive them. I was most impressed by the way in which all our shipments are rigorously checked before they leave the factories in China. Having seen with my eyes just how much sustainability work and responsibility there is behind the manufacture of a single stapler will help give the incentive to do a better job back home at the Distribution Centre.”

“The last two days at the children's centre in Nanjing were the highlight of my trip. It was invaluable to see that our contribution to Save the Children really makes a difference. They were a very emotional couple of days for me. On the one hand it was great to see how the children's centre treated the children well and that they were happy and lively, but on the other hand it was hard to see that their living standards are not as good as ours here in Sweden. I am really proud of Clas Ohlson and what we are doing in China for the migrant workers and their children.”

Marie Hemberg.

Marie Hemberg, Key Account Manager at Save the Children, was also on the trip and recounts that she has a very positive picture of Clas Ohlson's sustainability work and learnt a lot about Clas Ohlson during the trip.

“If I think about Clas Ohlson from a customer's point of view, I can safely say that they can be confident that the products are manufactured under good conditions. There is a great deal of thought and responsibility behind the entire journey a product makes from the factory in China to the Distribution Centre in Insjön and finally to the shop shelf.”

Marie Hemberg and Anna Wastring.

“I am very impressed that everything is done in such an organised way and that the issue of sustainability permeates the entire operation. Even a comparatively small buyer such as Clas Ohlson can make a huge difference, this much I learnt during the trip. I also think that it is important that Clas Ohlson is seeking to foster long-term co-operation with the factories and promote a constructive dialogue with them.”

Marie also tells us about the visit to the children's centre in Nanjing:

“During these two days we met so many inquisitive, playful and extrovert children. We saw how the centre gave the children the chance to do their homework, read books, play, meet with friends and have a meaningful leisure time. The volunteers and staff at the centre run it for the good of the children and it was heart-warming to see such good relationships they had with both the children and their families.”

“I met a family in which the father is unemployed due to a work injury. He buys and sells scrap to earn a little extra money for his family. The mother in the family is the bread-winner, she cleans the public toilets. Thanks to her, the family are allowed to live in a room next to the toilet block. Their son is 18 years old and still at school. He has applied to a college of further education but his parents don't know how they will afford to pay for his education. Their daughter is 9 years old and loves school. She comes to the centre every day to do and get help with her homework which she can't do at home because the family lives in just one room with two bunk beds. Her favourite subject is maths and her English was very good. Her parents have chosen to stay in Nanjing because the school here is better than the one in their home town. They would like to give their children the chance of a good education so that they can have a good future. At the centre they often use the phrase "A home is where love is", which this family is a living example of.” 

Co-workers at Clas Ohlson's office in Shanghai.