Children's Rights and the Corporate Sector in the Nordic Region

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Nordic Benchmark Report on Children’s Rights and the Corporate Sector

How are Nordic companies doing on children’s rights?

Nordic companies have a reputation for innovation and socially responsible forward-thinking.  But how do the Nordics stack up when reporting  on children’s rights?

Global Child Forum just launched the report focusing on the Nordic region  – Children’s Rights and the Corporate Sector in the Nordic Region. This study is the latest in a series of regional and global benchmarks which scans companies from all compass points and identifies if they report on children’s rights indicators.

Do Nordic companies integrate children’s rights into core operations?  Address and report on children’s rights issues? Engage with programs that benefit children?

The Nordic benchmark study scores 300 top companies headquartered in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland on these, and other, indicators.  The benchmark then assigns both an aggregate regional score as well as individual company scores. All companies included in the study also receive a scorecard with their result and are given an opportunity to respond or give feedback.

What are people saying? Read selected media coverage:

Bloomberg: Nordics Lose Halo in Study Ranking Them With Emerging Markets

Reuters: Nordic companies fall short on transparency over child rights

Dagens Industri: Lågt engagemang för barnens rätt

Sisua Radio/Sveriges Radio: Pohjoismaiset suuryritykset eivät loista lasten oikeuksien saralla

Aktuell Hållbart: DEBATT Företag måste stärka kontrollen över sina leverantörsled, skriver Théo Jaekel och Jasmin Draszka-Ali, från advokatfirman Vinge.”Barnrättsfrågor – en blind fläck för nordiska storbolag”

How well do the Nordics score?
Download the report here.

"With Nordic companies generally enjoying a reputation for being socially responsible forward-thinkers, the results are somewhat surprising."

Why benchmark children’s rights?

Companies of all sizes, in all sectors and regions, have an obligation to respect children’s right in their operations. This isn’t only a societal imperative, it also makes good business sense. While many companies present stellar examples of how both business and society can benefit from respecting children’s rights, most companies grapple with identifying how best to address children’s rights issues within their operations. Our benchmarking reports let companies know where they stand vis-à-vis their region and their sector on a number of basic children’s rights indicators and allows participating companies to identify their areas of strength and pinpoints their shortcomings.

For more information on the report contact:

Nina Vollmer, Researcher nina.vollmer@globalchildforum.org

For all media inquiries, contact:

Linda Lodding, Communication Manager linda.lodding@globalchildforum.org

Stay updated in social media by following @GCForum on twitter, #bizchildrights

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  1. GCF Editor GCF Editor

    “We defined children as important stakeholders to our business several years ago and have worked with a clear focus on children’s rights issues ever since. That this work is being acknowledged is of course pleasing, especially in a renowned study like this. However, there are still much to be done, not least in our ongoing projects for Chinese migrant workers’ families,” says Åsa Portnoff Sundström, Head of Sustainability at Clas Ohlson. Read the full press release here: http://about.clasohlson.com/media/press-releases/2016/clas-ohlson-acknowledged-for-its-childrens-rights-work/

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Additional insight: Private & State-owned companies

In the recent report The Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights in the Nordic Region, Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group published the results from a benchmarking of how the 299 largest1 listed Nordic companies address children’s rights in their public reporting. To compare the findings from the screening of publicly listed companies, we assessed 30 non-listed Nordic companies; the 15 largest privately owned and the 15 largest state-owned. A summary of those results are presented below2. Of a total possible score of 9, the privately owned companies scored on average 2.1 points, while state-owned companies scored 3.7 on average. In contrast, the 15 largest listed companies scored 5.1 on average. GCF - BCG Nordic addendum - grafik1 One explanation for the difference could be due to the region’s stringent regulations on sustainability, reporting, and board accountability that affect primarily listed and state-owned companies. Due to the small sample size, not all industries are fully represented; approximately half of the private companies are in the Consumer Goods industry, with the remainder spread across Oil, Gas and Utilities, Food and Beverage and Industrials. The state-owned companies assessed are in all of the industries except ICT. RESULTS PER INDICATOR (%) GCF - BCG Nordic addendum - grafik2 When looking at the results for each of the indicators, it is notable that:

  • None of the privately owned companies have received points on Board Accountability and only two companies (13%) have identified their potential impact on children’s rights in risk assessments and materiality analyses.
  • The private and state-owned companies are lagging behind the listed companies when it comes to reporting on the results of their policies, for example against child labour, and establishing strategic collaborations with child rights organisations.
  • The privately owned companies have an opportunity to improve in addressing children’s rights issues other than child labour, such as product responsibility, responsible marketing or sexual exploitation. ___________________________ Based on revenue.  For more information about the methodology and the indicators used in the screening, please see The Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights in the Nordic Region. Companies that score between 6–9 points are considered high-scorers. Here, only state-owned and privately held companies are shown. For the high-scoring publicly listed companies, please see The Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights in the Nordic Region. The IKEA Group is regstered in the Netherlands. As a consequence, they are not part of the sample of companies included in the total average score of private Nordic companies. However, because of their Nordic origins, their child rights practices have been analysed for the sake of knowledge sharing.   Photo credit: Peter Tandlun

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