What is the Global Child Forum?

Global Child Forum is an independent platform for informed dialogue on children’s rights. Our Forums gathers leaders from business, governments, academia and civil society to promote cross-sector partnerships, knowledge- and best practice sharing – as a means to further children’s rights.

Founded in 2009 by the Swedish Royal Family, Global Child Forum is a leading forum for children’s rights and business dedicated to innovative thinking, knowledge-sharing and networking.  We believe 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 our 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.

Global Child Forum is a non-profit foundation initiated by the Swedish Royal Family.

What does
Global Child Forum do?

Global Child Forum brings together all stakeholders of society to find solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing children today. We have a specific focus on helping business to identify how they can advance children’s rights within their operations and communities.

We are known for our regional and Stockholm Forums which bring together thought-leaders and influencers to work together on exchanging best practices.  We are also known for our research around investor’s perception towards children’s rights, our regional benchmarking reports and the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas developed together with UNICEF.

What is the role of the Swedish Royal Family?

In 2009, H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Silvia initiated the Global Child Forum as part of their long-standing commitment to children’s issues. Since then, the Royal Family has maintained a strong and active role in Global Child Forum, participating in both the regional and global forums.


Where is the next Global Child Forum?

In October 2020 Global Child Forum will host our 11th Forum at the Stockholm Royal Palace. Our last forum in Stockholm was held in 2018 — built to raise awareness and generate action in terms of local and regional cross-sector partnerships to drive change. Our first forum outside of Sweden focused on the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) in 2014, and in 2015, we held a Forum on Southern Africa. In early in 2016, we held a Forum on Southeast Asia and, in April 2017, we convened the Global Child Forum on South America in São Paulo, Brazil.

We will continue to build on the work of the Forums through additional outreach activities and events. Please follow our website for continuous updates.

How can a Forum contribute to advancing children’s rights?

By identifying and discussing both the regional challenges and best practices of selected companies, Global Child Forum hopes that our Forums will uncover strategies for facilitating the successful implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child  and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.

We also see the Forum as a unique opportunity to bring together a diverse set of actors from business, civil society, academia and governments to network and build partnerships that can have an impact on children’s rights.  Many of the people who attend our Forum have never been invited to a children’s rights conference but they leave knowing  more and inspired to bring a change to their work.

Our work, however, does not stop at the end of the Forum day.  We continue to support the regions with tools and targeted research and follow-up initiatives.

Why should businesses be concerned about children’s rights?

While states have the primary duty to protect, respect and fulfill children’s rights, the private sector has enormous potential to impact children’s lives – both positively and negatively. The Children’s Rights and Business Principles offer businesses an organizing framework to maximize positive impacts and minimize any negative ones.

Taking responsibility for children’s rights is not only the right moral choice; it also makes sound business sense. Businesses that champion children’s rights in their strategies and operations can boost their reputation and brand value; improve recruitment, retention and motivation/productivity of employees; attract investors; build trust; gain a competitive advantage; secure and maintain a license to operate; reduce cost burdens; ensure active stakeholder engagement; increase legitimacy of operations; and contribute to more sustainable and inclusive markets. (credit: UNICEF)

How do the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) make a difference in the lives of children?

Children are impacted by business in a multitude of ways, directly and indirectly. The Principles call on business to recognize children as stakeholders so that their interests are given explicit consideration when business takes decisions and actions that affect children. Overall, the incidence of negative impacts of business on children should thus be reduced and positive impacts should be enhanced. Among many other outcomes, we expect that the Principles will help business develop more effective policies and practices to:

  • meet their responsibility to respect children’s rights and commit to supporting the human rights of children
  • contribute to the elimination of child labour, including in all business activities and business relationships
  • provide decent work for young workers, parents and caregivers
  • ensure the protection and safety of children in all business activities and facilities
  • ensure that products and services are safe, and seek to support children’s rights through them
  • use marketing and advertising that respect and support children’s rights
  • respect and support children’s rights in relation to the environment and to land acquisition and use
  • respect and support children’s rights in security arrangements
  • help protect children affected by emergencies
  • reinforce community and government efforts to protect and fulfil children’s rights (credit:UNICEF)

How does addressing children’s rights have a positive impact on a business’s profits?

If you look at it the other way around, it’s easy to see how ignoring children’s rights can have a negative, and potentially disastrous impact on a business. By ignoring children’s rights (and human rights) business can face legal challenges, financial problems, reputational issues, attraction and retention issues among employees and not least, you can do harm to children.

Today, consumers and investors are also becoming increasingly savvy and want to buy products, and invest in companies, who have done their due diligence and are ethically responsible. This means that companies need to be aware of their overall footprint along the value chain and ensure that all human rights are upheld.

On the positive side, companies that have happy workers tend to have happy children which makes workers perform better and are therefore more loyal to the company they work for. Companies that invest in the communities where they work are also better corporate citizens and by doing well for the community, they do well for themselves. Customers and investors are proud to be part of a corporate family that cares about children.