Swedish companies’ association with Child labour a normal way to high profits, wealth and exploitation


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Monday, 02 May 2011
This not the first time that the cause of child labour associated with Swedish companies is raised. Despite the face of Sweden being a country where child labour is heavily frown at, more companies operation with a Swedish face is associated with child labour and extremely poor working conditions for products sold in the country.

This is based on new cases of child labour and seven cases of locked fire exits recently detected among suppliers to the Swedish supermarket Coop Forum based in Asia. Also ICA, another supermarket has also confirms that they there is the detection of child labour among its suppliers.

A few months ago, we wrote on this network about child labour and extreme poor working conditions as well as lack of safety compliances such as locked fire exits, among suppliers to the Swedish supper markets such as Coop, ICA and many others mostly based in Southeast Asia where there is limited controls or where there is very high rates of corruption in implementing safety and working age rules.
It was expected that by today, most of these corrections would have been made such that these Nordic companies would act as role models to the suppliers on ethical ways of producing and rewarding production. But now new flaws in these ethical ways of production have been detected.


According to reports, Intercoop which buys products sold for the Nordic countries, Spain and Italy that has failed to carry out the ethical implementation required by the supermarkets. But since the Nordic trader where awarded of the 15 serious facts that were made, according to the annual report for 2010, they supposed to have taken actions if their suppliers were working according to the ethical guidelines.

Of these, four counts of child labour, eight counts of locked fire exits and three denial of access to documents - such as payrolls were pointed outs as bridge to best practice in employment. The factories manufacture products for Coop's own brands - so-called private label products.

Many of the Coop's products are manufactured in high-risk countries in Asia and in 2010 Intercoop contracts 918 factories in Asia, including 759 in China.

All vendors must sign the Coop's code of conduct, based on UN and ILO guidelines and includes prohibitions against child labour. But the argument is that if illegal bridge of those codes are detected it does not necessarily mean that coop forum is in cooperation with the factories as such those action will not cease.

Ica, which has production sites in 750 locations in Asia, Africa and South and Central America, has discovered child labour among its suppliers.
“Child labour still exist, it happens that we still see it, "said Mary Smith, director of environmental and social responsibility in Ica.
But ICA according to Mary Smith is not ready to say whether they discovered any cases of child labour in 2010.
“This is a complex material, we must find a way to report it, "she says.
2010 ended Ica cooperation with twelve suppliers who were not willing to improve themselves, but causes are varied, according to Mary Smith. The fact that child labour is detected does not mean that the factory will be boycott.

Competitor Axfood put twelve inspections in 2010, including eight in China.
Overall, the food retail group 90 suppliers in countries regarded as risky in terms of production. Axfood has not detected any cases of child labour in the twelve areas of inspections in 2010.
By Team

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