Global Benchmark 2021

Sustainable investing

November 2021

Incorporate children’s rights into your decision making

There’s no question that Environmental, Social and Governance criteria (“ESG”) are increasingly on the minds of investors. The topic has moved to the top of the global agenda. As we write, the ‘E’ is being hotly discussed at COP 26 in Glasgow. The ‘S’, which has previously been dormant, is starting to catch up. This is evidenced by a flurry of activity in the social bond market in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the European Union proposal for a Social Taxonomy. To read more about the increasing investor focus on social issues, and the important role of children in this, read ‘‘S’ in the Spotlight and the Crucial Role of Children’.

This year’s Global Child Forum benchmark has been designed to support investors seeking to incorporate social, and more specifically, children’s rights, insights and data into their traditional investment processes. We have observed a general trend between a company’s profitability and score in the benchmark which supports the increasing awareness that social factors can be tied to a company’s long-term performance. We have also compiled case studies highlighting the financial implications for companies, and ultimately their investors, that disregard their impact on children. By using our benchmark and data, investors can avoid exposure to these social and children’s rights-related investment risks.

This year’s benchmark has looked at 832 global companies – those companies considered the most influential in helping us reach the SDGs. The benchmark gives a snapshot of these companies, looking at the policies, processes and practices they have in place to systematize their children’s rights approach.

The benchmark and underlying company data are both available to the investor community. They should be used to take actions to incorporate a children’s rights perspective into policies and investment decision making, such as:

  • Identifying regions and sectors most at risk of child rights violations and conducting enhanced due diligence on companies considered for investment. Please see our sector scorecards for sector specific information.
  • Identifying and avoiding investing in companies whose operations or ethos fundamentally harm children. Please see our data for company specific information. We can also share the raw data for the benchmark, please contact us (see contact details below) for more information on this.
  • Actively addressing children’s rights through stewardship and active ownership, setting and monitoring expectations of investee companies and discussing the topic in meetings.
  • Incorporating children’s rights indicators into the ESG investment risk screening process.
  • Integrating children’s rights considerations within all value-based corporate commitments, such as codes of conduct and credit and investment policies. Please see our Workbook on Children’s Rights and Business for guidance about how to understand and incorporate a children’s rights perspective into your direct business operations.


To learn more about the work we are doing with the financial sector, or to access the raw data, please contact Matthew Goodwin, our Sustainable Finance Manager.

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S in the Spotlight and the Crucial Role of Children

Ignoring Children’s Rights is Risky Business for Investors

Case studies

Why investors should care about children's rights

Respecting children’s rights is an inherent part of good business practice and risk management and should, therefore, have implications for a company’s financial results. Few investors would contest the sound logic of this statement. However, there is still little empirical evidence to directly connect a company’s profitability to how well it manages children’s rights. To help fill this knowledge gap, Global Child Forum, in cooperation with Boston Consulting Group, has conducted an analysis of the relationship between a company’s profitability and its score in the 2021 Children’s Rights Global Benchmark.

Spread the word

When communicating around our global benchmark, please use the hashtags #GCFbenchmark21 and #sustainableinvesting – and make sure to tag @GCForum

The State of Children's Rights and Business 2021

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This report is made available on the express understanding that it will be used solely for general information purposes. The material contained in the report should not be construed as relating to accounting, legal, regulatory, tax, research or investment advice, and it is not intended to take into account any special or general investment objectives. The material contained in this report does not constitute a recommendation to take any action or to buy or sell or otherwise deal with anything or anyone identified or contemplated in the report. Before acting on anything contained in this material, you should consider whether it is suitable to your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice.  The information and data has been prepared and presented for institutional investors, not retail investors. No representation or warranty is given that the material in the report is accurate, complete or up-to-date.

The material in the report is based on publicly available information for each assessed companies at a specific point in time, and any statements, opinions, conclusions or recommendations contained herein are honestly and reasonably held or made at the time of publication. Any opinions expressed are our current opinions as of the date of the publication of the report only and may change without notice. Any views expressed in the report represent only the views of Global Child Forum and Boston Consulting Group, unless otherwise expressly noted.

A reference to a non-Global Child Forum website does not imply Global Child Forum’s endorsement of the accuracy of the information contained therein or the views expressed. The assessment of companies has been carried out solely according to Global Child Forum methodology.

While the material contained in the report has been prepared in good faith, neither Global Child Forum nor any of its agents, representatives, advisers, affiliates, directors, officers or employees accept any responsibility for or make any representation or warranty (either express or implied) as to the truth, accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information. Any disputes, claims or proceedings in connection with or arising in relation to this report will be governed by and construed in accordance with Swedish law and submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of Sweden.


Photographs used are for illustrative purposes only and do not necessarily represent initiatives discussed in the report nor imply any particular attitudes, behaviours or actions on the part of those who appear in the photographs.

To read more about our Methodology, please go to About our benchmark

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Case study; Bayer mitigating root causes of child labour

Mitigating root causes of child labour

Bayer is a German multinational life science company with global headquarter in Leverkusen. The company is comprised of three divisions – Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health and Crop Science. All three divisions operate globally and engage with numerous subcontractors. The company has a vision expressed by the phrase, “Health for all, hunger for none” as they focus on delivering innovations in healthcare and agriculture. Bayer is guided in fulfilling this vision through its corporate purpose, “Science for a better life”. Bayer’s vision and purpose indicate that the company strives to create societal good within their core business. During the last two decades, Bayer has experienced incidents of child labour in their indirect supply chain, mainly in India among suppliers of seed. In an effort to address these serious incidences, Bayer went beyond policy and initiated its own action program called the Child Care Program (CCP). Established in 2007, the Program is comprehensive, consisting of structured measures to address and act on child labour, including supporting children who are victims of child labour. Since the implementation of its Child Care Program, Bayer has made several advancements within the area of child labour, where they have managed to influence their value chain in India positively by addressing and acting on the issues related to child labour. Download our case study to learn more.  

case study