Global Child Forum is issuing an urgent call for business to create tangible initiatives and forge partnerships which advance children’s rights in your operations, supply chains and in the communities in which you operate. We want to create a movement – to deliver actionable initiatives that contribute to advancing children’s rights. Why now? Because children can’t wait.
Join us by signing the pledge and committing to making a difference by taking at least one action in your own company and community within the next 12 months.
To help you on your journey we will keep you informed of our research tools and upcoming events/webinars that may support you in your work towards fulfilling your commitment. And to help you communicate around your pledge, we have also developed a communications toolkit that you can find here.
To highlight your efforts, we wish to feature your company/organization on our website and in our social media channels, along with your pledge. If you would prefer not to be featured, please let us know.
#WePledge4ChildrenRead the Global Child Forum concept note here.
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1. Advance children’s rights in our company through principles, codes of conduct and policies
I/We commit to advance children’s rights and their protection in our company through statements of business principles, codes of conduct and policies.
Respecting children’s rights in your operations and communities requires that children’s rights are included in a well-articulated statement of your business principles, a strong code of conduct and robust policies.
But policies are only a first step. While many companies have a policy or statement against child labour, there are many issues beyond child labour such as ending child sexual exploitation or on taking responsibility for how their products affect children or taking measures to ensure that children’s rights are considered when operations affect the surrounding community, for example, the right to water, adequate sanitation and a healthy environment.
Explore the Children’s Rights and Business Principles(the Principles) — the first comprehensive set of principles to guide companies on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children’s rights. Then read about what other companies are doing in our Knowledge Center.
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2. Listen to children
I/We commit to listen to children who are impacted by our business and include their views in the decisions that impact their lives.
Young people around the world are often relegated to the side-lines and excluded from having a say in decisions that will affect them. One of the key elements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the right of children to participate in decisions that affect them. Children are critical thinkers, change makers, communicators, innovators and future leaders. In recent years, the importance of young people’s participation in civil society has been increasingly recognised. However, young people´s participation in business decision-making is not as well articulated – yet business impacts children in many ways. Children are engaged in a diverse range of paid and unpaid work in urban and rural settings and they are consumers of products and services that can enhance as well as harm their lives.
For business, young people’s views and input could inform how business work with their suppliers, how they structure their operations and how they develop their products and services to meet the needs and respect the rights of children and young people.
Read UNICEF’S “Every Child’s Right to Be Heard; A Resource Guide on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child” Hear what the world’s children have to say about their work in Time to Talk’s report.
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3. Initiate a partnership that brings child rights expertise to our organization
I/We commit to initiate at least one partnership that brings to our organization the expertise to support a child-focused program advancing children’s rights.
Companies are charitable and do want to contribute to child rights initiatives. However, when it comes to incorporating children’s rights into their business, only 15% have established strategic partnerships with children’s rights organisations on issues that affect how they run their company.
Businesses are generally not experts on how best to tackle children’s rights issues, and even in cases when they are, it is still relevant to partner with organizations that have a deep understanding and expertise within the local context in question. These organizations can include, for example, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or government ministries in the country of operation. Partners complement a company’s expertise, providing extensive knowledge on social issues, contacts with local stakeholders, experience in project implementation and significant credibility. Partners also have familiarity with other initiatives in the area, and they can assist in setting up large-scale, high impact programs.
Read “Corporate Programs for Children’s Rights: Guidance and Best Practice” to learn more about the four building blocks for a successful children’s rights program. Check out the Deep Dives in our Knowledge Center to learn how other companies have created promising partnerships. If you are interested in partnering with Global Child Forum, please contact us!
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4. Integrate children’s rights into due diligence processes
I/We commit to integrate children’s rights into our corporate due diligence processes, including risk or impact assessments and reporting mechanisms.
Child-rights due diligence is a way to identify and prevent negative impacts on children’s rights. This process can give businesses a sense of how their actions affect children all over the world. Many companies lack reporting mechanisms. Within the Nordic region, for example, 73% have a policy or statement against child labour, but only 17% of companies report on the results of their policies such as reporting on findings relating to child labour in their supply chain.
Both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child General Comment No. 16. and The Children’s Rights and Business Principles highlights the importance of human rights due diligence in respecting and protecting child rights. Most often the focus is on mitigating the risks associated with child labour, but effective due diligence should expand beyond child labour.
Furthermore, many companies lack reporting mechanisms. Within the Nordic region, for example, 73% have a policy or statement against child labour, but only 17% of companies report on the results of their policies such as reporting on findings relating to child labour in their supply chain.
The Children’s Rights and Business Atlas can support your company in identifying, prioritizing and mitigating children’s risks in the community and environment. In doing so, you can prevent negative impacts and support the development of healthy and thriving communities for children.
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5. Raise children’s rights to the board level
I/We commit to raise the issue of advancing children’s rights to the board level.
Children’s rights need to be captured as a material issue and taken on board at the highest level of corporate governance. If not, there is little incentive for senior management to pay attention to it. Hence, if board level management is not asking for action or risk assessments in this area, other parts of the organization are less likely to address the issue.
Our Global Child Forum research shows that only 10% of the companies that we have assessed articulate children’s rights issues at the highest level of corporate governance. Such responsibilities might include, for example, receiving and following up on regular reporting. When children’s rights issues are raised at the board level, they infiltrate a company’s DNA. But culture change also needs to live in the collective DNA of employees, investors and consumers. While compliance needs to be prescribed, there also needs to be optimism, trust, conviction, or creativity.
And that’s when real action takes root. Download our Benchmark Series from our Knowledge Center.
Make this commitment
Thank you for committing to advance children’s rights in your business or organization. We’re looking forward to following your progress in the next several months.
To help you on your journey we will keep you informed of our research tools and upcoming events/webinars that may support you in your work towards fulfilling your commitment. And to help you communicate around your pledge, we have also developed a communications toolkit that you can find at www.globalchildforum.org/other/pledge-communications-toolkit/
To highlight your efforts, we wish to feature your company/organization on our website and in our social media channels, along with your pledge. If you would prefer not to be featured, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Council pledges its devotion and commitment towards the wellbeing of children globally and its persistence and dedication towards building a better world with humane values, hence, securing a prosperous future.”
Rym Al FalasySecretary General
“Children are very important stakeholders to Telia Company, as they use our services. As an internet service provider we have a responsibility to protect children online. We have been very engaged in this during the last couple of years and we have to continue on that journey. That’s why we took the Global Child Forum pledge.”
“Children’s rights and their protection should not only be found in the articulation of company policies, but more importantly, it should be reflected in our business operations across the value chain. Siemens China is committed to advancing this pledge and together with our employees, we will make a difference. At Siemens, our employees are proud to be Future Makers. So here’s for the future.”
Qing MaHuman Resources Head
“Children are the future, and it is of vital importance that we also take them into consideration because they are the ones who will be taking the lead in years to come. They are also an important audience and cannot be ignored and despite that they might be young, we can always learn from them because of their fresh outlook on life. For all these reasons, we choose to make a pledge.”
Dr. Nashwa Al RuwainiCEO
“Norr is a young company where commitment to sustainable solutions stands at our core. From the start, we decided that Norr would be a new generation of company where social, environmental and economic sustainability would be integrated in our DNA. Everything we do will always take into consideration all these aspects, regardless of profitability or time consumption.”
Anna De GeerChief Sustainability Officer
“Rising Hope Foundation chose to pledge and stand together with Global Child Forum and all other organisations who work towards advancing children’s rights globally. And we wish to accomplish making a difference in children’s lives on the continent and globally and bringing together corporates, individuals, governments and civic society by being the voice of children for the purposes of working together to eradicate any children’s rights violations.”
“Aiming to build a future in which learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners, the LEGO Foundation is proud to make this pledge.”
“We have worked around respecting the rights of children for 16 years through the partnership we have with UNICEF. We believe that support for education processes generates development in society and that is why we are convinced to support this cause.”
Augusta BustamanteCorporate Social Responsibility Manager
“For us, making this pledge is a given. Today, there’s a lot of talk about how children feel and what they need – without asking them about their own opinions. We want to be their voice in society, to keep them involved and give them a say in important decisions affecting them. Together, we can ensure all children’s and youth’s right to a safe and secure upbringing.”
“Children are our daily business, children development matter the most to us. We are committed to ensuring the protection and safeguarding of child rights in our communities. The future depends on how we treat and empower children today. Development for all is the development for children. Invest now.”
Founder and Executive Director