New Global Child Forum study reveals that the South American businesses can do more to protect children

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São Paulo 4 April  2017:  

Research launched during Global Child Forum highlights opportunities to increase commitment to children’s rights in South America

A new Global Child Forum study reveals that the region’s businesses can do more to protect children. The study, Children’s Rights and the Corporate Sector in South America, reports on how well business integrates and report on children’s rights.  According to the report, South American companies scored an average of 2.2 out of a possible score of 9, below the global average of 2.9.  The report was launched today at the high-level Global Child Forum on South America.

The benchmark report, which examined 282 of South America’s largest companies does, however, indicate that the region is performing on par, or slightly above, other regions on several indicators. While this is promising, more can be done to ensure that companies safeguard children’s rights in their operations.

“Our aspiration with this study is to emphasize that strong economic growth in the region should not come at the expense of children and the young,” said Douglas Woods, Partner and Managing Director from The Boston Consulting Group Brazil, collaborators of the report. “The region overall is characterized by great disparity and contrasts – and this reality is reflected in the business community as well. While there are many leading companies active and concerned with child welfare, unfortunately there are also many companies and segments where exploitation is still much too common.”

Some key findings from the report are:

  • Less than 10% of companies have boards who take responsibility for children’s rights issues; this score is somewhat lower than average when compared to other regions.
  • While 59% of companies assessed have a policy or statement against child labour, only 24% of companies report on the results of their policies, for example, on findings of child labour in their supply chains.
  • 21% of companies report on other children’s rights issues such as sexual exploitation against children or product marketing towards children. This indicator score is significantly higher than other regions.

“Corporate management has a responsibility to not only lead, but also to serve their stakeholders – not least, children,” said Fiona Rotberg, Research Director at Global Child Forum. “However, there are many reasons to be optimistic about this region. Many businesses have established company policies against child labour and address important issues that impact children and their rights, such as product safety and marketing. Leading regional companies in all industry sectors can pave the way towards establishing partnerships and industry-wide initiatives to safeguard children and their rights.

While many companies understand the need to prohibit child labour, not as many consider additional ways that their business operations can impact children’s wellbeing for example, by considering children’s rights in developing their products, services and marketing activities; by ensuring that children are not exploited in large infrastructure projects and by offering on-site childcare facilities or ample parental leave.

According to the report, two industrial sectors within the region stand out from their peers: the oil, gas and utilities sector as well as the financial and properties sector. These industries score, on average, higher than the other sectors. Sectors which are lagging include food and beverage, industrial goods, consumer goods and healthcare. However, most sectors in the study have several high scorers (6–9 points).  Leading examples come from Banco do Brasil, EcoPetrol, EDP, Holcim, Klabin, Falabella, Telecom and Duratex.

As an outcome from the Global Child Forum in South America, the Global Child Forum is challenging companies to take one action, in the next 30 days, to support children’s rights. Share this idea with the Global Child Forum and, during the month May, and they will highlight your action for through #30ways30days.

Note to Editors:
Download the full report here: 

TWEET: @GCForum launches latest report scoring South American companies with regards to #bizchildrights! http://bit.ly/2nm7ihk

 TWEET:  @GCForum latest benchmark report on South American companies urges more attention to #bizchildrights.: http://bit.ly/2nm7ihk

About Global Child Forum

Founded in 2009 by the King and Queen of Sweden, Global Child Forum is a leading forum for children’s rights and business dedicated to innovative thinking, knowledge-sharing and networking. Global Child Forum believes in the power and responsibility of business, working in partnership with all parts of society, to create a prosperous, sustainable and just society for the world’s children. In addition to forums, Global Child Forum delivers research perspectives, best practices and risk assessment tools designed to unlock opportunities for business to integrate children’s rights into their operations and communities. The Honorary Chairman of the Global Child Forum is H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf. For more information, please visit: www.globalchildforum.org.

About Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. BCG partners with clients in all sectors and regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their businesses.

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