Action group wants to buy Hema chain
26 March 2007 - With the help of consumers,
the Clean Clothes Campaign (SKK) wants to buy the Hema department
store chain. In this way, the organisation wants to obtain better
supervision of labour conditions at companies that manufacture Hema
According to the organisation, these products are “probably
made by people who are being exploited”. Coordinator Floris
de Graad: “We have been in contact with Hema before because
we think their policy can be improved. That is not to say that Hema
is worse than the others, for that is not the case”.
week, it was announced that Hema is for sale for an estimated one
billion euro. Owner Maxeda is not necessarily looking for the highest
bidder, but wants a Dutch buyer who will respect the company’s
identity. The SKK website: “Maxeda wants the ‘right
owner’, who in addition should be full of ambition. That is
SKK calls on consumers to register as a prospective buyer of a
Hema share. If a billion euro can be collected - about sixty euros
per inhabitant of the Netherlands - it will be tried to buy the
This means that for now, people can register as prospective buyers
without running any real risk? “Yes, of course we do count
on people who make promises to pay up when it all works out. But
for now the risks are indeed limited, that is of course also because
we want to lower the barrier”.
If the campaign fails to raise a billion euro, still other actions
may be organised. Ideas under consideration include pins, shopping
bags (‘this shop is mine’), brainstorm evenings with
active shareholders and visits to Maxeda.
“If the mailbox fills up with shows of adhesion of people
saying, I also want to buy a share Hema when the moment is there,
then of course that will be a reason to do more”, De Graad
The Hema was founded eighty years ago in Amsterdam as the Hollandse
Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij (Dutch Standard Prices Company). By
now, it has stores in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg,
and employs 10,000 people.
It is no longer just renowned for its low prices. “While
Hema remains the economic place to shop for basics, it’s also
made a name for itself as a source of affordable, no-nonsense design
objects - even their sale flyers are graphics’ classics”,
Hema claims to buy from 1,200 suppliers in over forty countries.
“A sharp price is important, but not at the cost of anything.
Issues such as reliability, integrity, continuity and good and safe
labour conditions also count”, the organisation’s website
Hema is affiliated to the Business Social Compliance Initiative
(BSCI), which supervises labour conditions. However, SKK claims
that the efforts of BSCI are largely symbolic.
Register as a prospective Hema buyer here
(enter name; amount in euros, e-mail address and remarks)
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