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For the Danish design and sofa manufacturer Eilersen, it took nearly 10 years to implement ambitious CSR targets at the company's factory in China. In return, the company now possesses important knowledge and extensive practical experience that is used at Eilersen's factories in other countries.

Since the Danish design and sofa manufacturer Eilersen's founding in 1895, the company had its own production facility in the Danish town of Skamby. But in the year 2000, the company decided to move a part of its production to China, opening a furniture factory in Tianjin.

A difficult start to the CSR work in China

From the beginning, the ambition was to establish conditions at all Eilersen factories that were at least as good as the conditions at the Danish factory. This objective was the result of an Eilersen core value, "because it is the right thing to do". The first step was to examine working conditions, working environment and housing. Some of the employees were migrant workers who lived at the factory and wanted to work as much as possible so that they could earn as much as possible and send the money home to their families. Therefore, at first it was not easy to implement health and hygiene initiatives, since employees wanted higher pay rather than investments in better conditions.

Attitude to CSR in transition

As time passed, Tianjin had the same running development at the same rapid pace as the rest of China. There was soon a greater understanding of the CSR agenda and the even some of the Chinese began to see the need for creating a local community around the growing factory areas. The typical employee profile also changed at Eilersen's factory, as more employees today come from the local community and therefore have ties to the area, the employers and their colleagues.

No flaunting of results

The result and experiences from Eilersen's 10-year CSR efforts in China in areas such as anti-corruption, environment, climate, working environment, supplier management and employee relations have given the company valuable knowledge that is today used at its factories in other countries. Eilersen consciously chooses not to use its CSR work actively in marketing the company and products, because Eilersen believes that consumers can rightly expect that a product of such high quality is made under proper environment conditions and that Eilersen lives up to its social responsibility.

Read more at www.eilersen.eu