PRESS RELEASE: Nordic companies lagging behind when it comes to reporting on children’s rights

STOCKHOLM 12 December 2016: A new Global Child Forum study, which examines how well 300 of the Nordic region’s largest companies report on children’s rights, reveals that the region is lagging behind. In this study, which is the latest in a series of regional and global benchmarks, Nordic companies scored an average of 2.0 out of a possible score of 9, below the global average of 2.9.

“Nordic companies have a reputation for innovation and socially responsible forward-thinking so the results surprised us,” said Johan Öberg, Senior Partner and Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group, collaborators on the report. “This is a major issue considering that for many companies children are a priority stakeholder group while at the same time they are often the most vulnerable sector of society.”

Some key findings from the report are:

  • 73% of companies have a policy or statement against child labour; yet only 17% of those companies report on the results of their policies; this compared to the global average of 41% companies that report on these issues.
  • While 51% of companies have their own charitable activities, only 15% have established key partnerships with children’s rights organizations with impact on their core operations.
  • 10 % of the assessed companies report that the board is taking responsibility for children’s rights issues.

Few issues can be as powerful in affecting a corporate brand adversely as breaches of children’s rights. Reporting on children’s rights issues is an essential part of a sound response to, and management of, the impact that children’s rights have on a business.

Nordic countries are small, open economies that are highly dependent on supply chain operations, especially in Southeast Asia where child labour is a concern. Global Child Forum’s Southeast Asian benchmark indicates that only 29% of companies within that region have a policy against child labour. When you connect the dots, this leads to some concerns and potential risks for the Nordics.

“Leadership in this area begins when business understands how children interact in their value chain, include children’s rights in their code of conduct and ensure that the highest level of company management is accountable,” said Fiona Rotberg, Research Director at the Global Child Forum.

Among the nine sectors scored, the ICT sector (Information Communications Technology) stands out as a leader in addressing children’s rights issues. Many of the region’s largest ICT companies such as Telenor, Tele2 and Telia Company have in place innovative initiatives that address children’s rights issues such as online bullying and combatting commercial exploitation of children. The study also highlights other leading companies such as Clas Ohlson, SCA, H&M, Trelleborg, Stora Enso and Swedish Match.

According to the report, sectors which could stand to improve their children’s rights reporting include healthcare, financials, travel and tourism, oil and gas and food and beverage.

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Note to Editors:
Download the full report here: http://www.globalchildforum.org/resources/upcoming-childrens-rights-corporate-sector-nordic-region/

For further information please contact:
Linda Lodding, Communication Manager, Global Child Forum
+46 72 387 0248
linda.lodding@globalchildforum.org

About Global Child Forum
Global Child Forum brings together leaders from business, governments, academia and civil society in a joint effort to implement children’s rights. We initiate, coordinate and fund research regarding children’s rights and provide effective information sharing, exposing leading case studies and learning from good practice. Global Child Forum is a non-profit foundation initiated by H.M. the King and H.M. the Queen of Sweden in 2009.

About Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. BCG partners with clients in all sectors and regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their businesses.