Board engagement is a key ingredient to the successful integration of children’s rights issues into operations and supply chains. It is encouraging to see that attention to children’s rights issues has risen to the board level in a number of companies since 2014 (up from 13% to 30%), indicating that more companies are starting to consider children’s rights to be a topic worthy of being addressed at this level of an organization.
And yet, less than a third of companies have a board that assumes such responsibility. Although the increase since 2014 seems to follow an overall trend in which companies in general are more focused on sustainability and human rights issues, action is still called for to improve the extent to which boards are accountable for the implementation of policies related to children’s rights.
Board accountability can mean the difference between simply signing off on policies and sustainability reports, for example, and actually requiring reporting back on compliance and developments from operations. The most efficient way of accomplishing this is to integrate children’s rights issues within larger areas of concern, for example, labour rights or community impact, while continuing to recognise the greater vulnerability of children, which requires special attention.