How can business, regardless of sector and position, seize the opportunities to contribute to a better world for our children and young people by “investing in every child”? What does it mean to be a responsible company in today’s competitive environment? How can companies find solutions that balance their long-term profitability while balancing their ESG (environmental, social and governance) responsibilities? These questions provided a fruitful discussion at the Global Child Forum’s annual Partner Advisory Board meeting (PAB), held on 15 November 2017.
“This is where real change takes place”
This half-day meeting was opened with remarks from Global Child Forum’s Honorary Chairman, H.M. King Carl Gustaf:
“Basing our decisions on solid facts has always been important. But today, in a time of information overload, I believe it is more critical than ever. It is really quite simple: The better we know, the better we can do. Therefore, I am especially proud of Global Child Forum’s efforts to collect and share knowledge and best practices concerning children’s rights.” Read the King’s full remarks here.
The morning’s meeting gathered the organization’s business and knowledge partners and focused on what different sectors can learn from each other. Crown Princess Victoria, a UN Sustainable Development Globals Advocate, was the first speaker of the meeting. In her speech, the Crown Princess emphasised how all of the 17 global goals committed by the world leaders concern children’s rights:
“The most important thing to understand about the Global Goals is that they are not really a list of targets. But rather a network or a system. The only way to successfully achieve one goal is by working on the others as well. They cannot be ticked off one by one. Instead, they are all interlinked… They are all – directly or indirectly – children’s rights. And none of them can be achieved without the active participation of the private sector […] Companies operate globally and locally. They are employers, investors and suppliers. They have a significant presence in their local communities and in people’s everyday lives. And as we all know, that is where real change takes place.” Read Crown Princess Victoria’s full remarks here.
Following the opening remarks, Mats Granryd, Director General of GSMA brought forward examples of the mobile industry’s support for children’s rights through on-the-ground initiatives that are making a real difference in the lives of children around the world such as in child online protection, birth registration, financial inclusion, refugee assistance and education.
Anders Bouvin, Group CEO of Handelsbanken, shared his thoughts on how the financial sector can address challenges to children’s rights. He discussed Handelsbanken’s approach to sustainability and illustrated how the bank’s commitment to children’s rights has translated into a growing range of collaborations at the local, regional and national level.
UN Global Compact’s Senior Manager, Anita Househam, emphasised that influencing supply chain practices is the biggest challenge to improving sustainability performance – 80% of global trade passes through supply chains. She commented that companies that respect human rights in their supply chain can generate large-scale impact.
Peder Michael Pruzan-Jorgensen, Senior Vice-President for Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), focussed on the often over-looked intersection of child, family and workplace saying that no long-term solution is possible without connecting the three.
Gary Stahl, Director of the UNICEF Division of Private Fundraising and Partnerships (PFP), highlighted UNICEF’s recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, reinforcing the two organizations’ continued collaboration working to promote the rights and well-being of every child saying:
“We are happy to have a continued close cooperation with the Global Child Forum to keep inspiring and challenge businesses to support children’s rights. Together, we can reach and influence more businesses, governments and civil society actors in the best interest of children.”
The conversations also touched the importance of raising questions about the children’s rights and the global goals from being a matter of philanthropy to becoming part of the core values of the companies. The meeting concluded with a presentation of upcoming forums and projects, as well as a presentation of the further development of Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, a web-based tool developed by the Global Child Forum together with UNICEF, which helps companies to become aware of, among other things, the risk factors that exist regarding children’s rights in different industries.
H.M. Queen Silvia concluded the meeting by referencing the organization’s beginnings and praising Ulf Karlberg, the out-going Chairman of the Partner Advisory Board:
“We opened the palace for the first seminar in Stockholm. Together with Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine, we received five hundred guests: politicians, media, industry, humanitarian organizations, the children’s ombudsman et cetera. They could not stop discussing the most important issue: children’s rights. It was wonderful to see.”
She also commended the Global Child Forum partners and supporters in her final remarks saying:
“Dear friends of Global Child Forum, You have all been wonderful. You understood how important you and your enterprises are, to help change children’s situation in the world! You have been generous sharing your knowledge with us and generous by supporting Global Child Forum financially the way you did!” Read the Queen’s full remarks here.
Anders Bouvin joined Handelsbanken in 1985 with a degree in economics. After an initial period within the bank’s international departments, he fulfilled a range of roles in the Swedish branch network. In 1999, Anders took up responsibility for the New York branch, returning to the Nordics three years later as head of Handelsbanken’s expanding Danish business. From 2008, Anders led the expansion of Handelsbanken UK into a popular and profitable banking business with over 200 branches throughout the country. In August 2016, Anders was appointed President and Group Chief Executive of Handelsbanken.
GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile)
As Director General, Mats Granryd leads the GSMA in supporting its global membership through a range of industry programmes, advocacy initiatives and industry-convening events. In 2016, Mats led the mobile industry in becoming the first sector to commit to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Supporting this, Mats serves on the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission and The B Team. Before joining the GSMA, Mats was President and CEO of Tele2 and also spent 15 years in a variety of roles at Ericsson.
Children’s Rights and Business Atlas Manager
Global Child Forum
As the Global Child Forum’s Children’s Rights and Business Atlas Manager, Martin works with businesses and strategic partners worldwide in order to find common answers on how to best integrate children’s rights into business operations by means of using the data driven Atlas tool. Martin holds a M.Sc. in political science from Uppsala University and Sciences-Po in Paris and combines a mix of experience from both the developmental landscape (UNIDO, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International IDEA) as well as the private sector. Martin also lectures on sustainability for business throughout the Nordics and has a deep interest in finding robust solutions to complex issues where development and business meet.
UN Global Compact
As Senior Manager at the United Nations Global Compact Office Anita Househam oversees the organisation’s supply chain sustainability portfolio and manages a number of social sustainability work streams. She was a member of the steering committee which developed the Children’s Rights and Business Principles in collaboration with UNICEF and Save the Children, and has led initiatives focused on integrated sustainability, traceability and the UN Sustainability Development Goals. In her capacity she also provides advisory support to other issue areas related to human rights, labour rights, legal affairs and integrity measures and currently leads the Global Compact’s new initiative on Decent Work in Global Supply Chains.
Global Child Forum Partner Advisory Board
Ulf Karlberg, former Chairman of the Global Child Forum, is now chairing its Partner Advisor Board (PAB).He was previously Chairman of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and also Chair of Amnesty International Business Group.Previously he was EVP of the Astra Zeneca Group and before that CEO at PA Consulting Group, Europe.
Global Child Forum
As Managing Director, Ulrika is responsible for managing and developing Global Child Forum in order to reach the organization’s overall vision: all parts of society to protect and support children’s rights. She brings to the role extensive experience in building partnerships and leveraging networks in order to create opportunities to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Previously, Ulrika was Director of Development at Lund University in charge of philanthropic partnerships and funding for strategic research and education, both in Sweden and abroad. With more than 20 years’ experience from the financial and banking sector, Ulrika has served on several boards and is a Corporate Senior Advisor to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). She graduated from the School of Economics and Management, Lund University, with an MSc in Business and Economics.
Senior Vice President,
Peder Michael leads BSR’s work with grant funders and partners as well as BSR’s work on developing and managing business and multi-stakeholder collaborations. A member of the BSR executive team, he co-leads BSR’s relationship management activities and provides executive guidance on BSR’s work on women’s empowerment.
An experienced sustainability executive, Peder Michael works with the world’s leading companies in consumer, financial services, transportation, healthcare, and energy sectors on business strategy and operations to help them manage sustainability risks and opportunities. He is a member of several sustainability advisory boards, including the Melton Foundation Advisory Board and the Stakeholder Advisory Panel of BAT, and he is a member of the UN Women/UNGC Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group.
Prior to joining BSR, Peder Michael was a key player in growing PricewaterhouseCoopers’ sustainable business solutions practice in Copenhagen. He also spent five years with the Danish Foreign Service, where he worked on human rights in international development and foreign policy and served on the Board of the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women. Peder Michael served on the Danish Government’s Council on Corporate Responsibility from 2009-2012.
He speaks English, French, Danish, and Swedish, and holds an international M.B.A. and a B.S. in business administration, both from Copenhagen Business School.
Global Child Forum
As Research Director, Fiona is responsible for directing, producing, and showcasing our research studies and tools, as well as our research partnerships. Fiona has worked in both the private and public sectors during the past 25 years, including as a consultant for Arthur D. Little, assistant professor in Political Science at Uppsala University and acting Executive Director at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. Fiona holds an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, a Master’s Degree from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. with distinction in International Law and Natural Resources from Tufts and Harvard Universities. Fiona joined Global Child Forum in 2015.
Director, Private Fundraising and Partnerships
Mr Gary Stahl is the UNICEF Director for Private Sector Engagement in the Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division. Since Mr Stahl joined UNICEF in 1994, he has held various positions within the organization, including Representative in Brazil, Chile and Nicaragua, Programme Coordinator in Peru, and Field Operations Officer in Rwanda. Mr Stahl holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Senior Partner and Managing Director
Boston Consulting Group Stockholm
Johan Öberg is leading The Boston Consulting Group’s global Private Equity Practice and is a core member of BCG’s Principal Investors & Private Equity practice. He is also a core member of the firm’s Health Care, Corporate Development, and Global Advantage practices, and he leads BCG in Sweden. Johan has been involved with the Global Child Forum since 2012.
“Dear friends of Global Child Forum,
You have all been wonderful. You understood how important you and your enterprises are, to help change children’s situation in the world! You have been generous sharing your knowledge with us and generous by supporting Global Child Forum financially the way you did.
Our warmest ´thank you´ to you all!”
/ H.M. Queen Silvia at the Global Child Forum Partner Advisory Board 2017
”… our job has been to win over companies that going global does not just mean having more short-term profits and looking for the cheapest allocation or sourcing capabilities. But rather to understand that for markets to grow, and for your own future prospects to be successful, it makes sense to integrate, in your strategic thinking and operations, environmental, social and governance issues.”
“The effort to safeguard children’s rights is not only a moral imperative but also important from a financial perspective. From an investor’s view, the conversation about ESG needs to widen to incorporate children’s issues not just regarding child labour but to also include questions related to marketing to children, children’s rights online and children’s rights to family and education in the context of migrant workers.” See Global Child Forum - GES study that investigates how investors integrate children’s rights into responsible investment policies. http://www.globalchildforum.org/other/press-release-annual-study-shows-more-needs-to-be-done-to-integrate-childrens-rights-into-investment-decision-making/
The RobecoSAM Global Child Impact Equities Strategy offers investors access to a concentrated, high conviction portfolio of attractively valued global companies that are leaders in supporting children’s rights and welfare. As such, the strategy enables investors to contribute to the well-being of future generations. (add link to fund)