According to the World Bank, East Asia and Pacific remains one of the main drivers of the world economy, accounting for nearly two-fifths of global economic growth. Yet, while poverty continues to decline, over a quarter of the region’s population remains economically insecure and inequality is rising in many countries. Rapid urbanization and business demands are feeding a massive need for infrastructure investment in the region, where 130 million lack access to power, 600 million lack access to adequate sanitation, and broadband infrastructure and connectivity are lagging.
On the human health front, East Asia and Pacific is also at the epicenter of the double burden of stunting and obesity—both forms of malnutrition. Stunting significantly reduces the physical and mental capabilities of children, imposing enormous human and economic costs while China and Indonesia are among the 10 countries that account for more than 50% of the global burden of obesity. The region also includes 13 of the 30 countries that are most vulnerable to climate change and bears the brunt of 70% of the world’s natural disasters. East Asia and Pacific is also the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore the region plays a critical role in advancing the global climate change agenda.
To this end, foreign companies looking to establish in the region should understand the complexities and take heed of children’s rights risks in the communities they look to invest in so that both business and society can reap the benefits.
To evaluate country-level data based on children’s rights indicators, visit the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas.
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No. 4 in a series of company reflections for the Global Child Forum on the ways in which companies address children’s rights and child-related issues. The study showcases Wilmar’s path towards establishing more sustainable business practices and developing a better understanding of the need to integrate a children’s rights perspective across its operations and suppliers. Click here to read the State of Children’s Rights in Southeast Asia Benchmark 2020.
In the final days before lockdown was introduced in the United Kingdom, CRIN hosted a panel discussion on surveillance and facial recognition at the Tate Modern where we addressed some of the risks they pose for children’s rights. Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many people to move their lives almost exclusively online, as adults began working from home and schools resorted to online learning. Such big changes, however, raise basic questions.
To mark our 10-year anniversary, and to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we asked young people and adult stakeholders what they see as the most critical issues for business to consider in the coming decade. To answer this question, we commissioned a global survey – scanning opinions from Stockholm to Sao Paolo – to listen and learn so that we can better guide companies along their journey to create a better world for children. So what are the top 10 children’s rights and business issues? Read on to find out!
The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2019, is a bold undertaking and showcases the results of nearly year-long review and analysis of just under 700 of the world’s leading companies, in nine sectors and along 20 children’s rights indicators. While the resulting data can be statistically complex, the underlying ambition was relatively straightforward. We wanted to learn more about how the corporate sector is doing with regard to integrating children’s rights into both their operations and their relationships with the communities in which they operate.
Ethical Toy Program partners with Save the Children and the Centre for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) in this webinar to introduce the child rights and business principles in detail, child rights issues and responsible resourcing, best practices from the toy supply chain.
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In this video Alinde Melin, Global Children's Rights Leader at Inter IKEA Group, shares what her recommendations are for companies that would like to start involving young people in their business. This video is part of a series of interviews with leading experts in the field. They were asked about the importance of child participation and business.
In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in the Southeast Asia region, this report makes use of two essential Global Child Forum research products: The Children Rights and Business Atlas and The corporate sector and children’s rights benchmark. More specifically, insights are provided across three areas where the corporate sector impacts children’s rights: The Workplace, The Marketplace, The Community and the Environment. Throughout this report, data from the Atlas highlights contextual factors that shape how companies can and should respond to children’s rights. This information is contrasted with the results of the Benchmark scoring for the 20 largest companies in Southeast Asia. A gap analysis provides recommendations for company actions that address risks and create positive impact on children’s rights in the region.
This is Tran Thanh Nam, a former bartender and current employee at Cuong Phat Pottery Company in Binh Duong, Vietnam. At the tender age of 15, Nam decided to drop out of school and the world of education behind. "I wasn’t very mature back then" he says. When Nam left school, finding a decent age-appropriate job was difficult, leaving him with no option but to take high-risk jobs like bartending until late at night. But since early 2018, Nam, now 17, has been working at Cuong Phat Pottery Company. The factory is taking part in a youth development programme which creates opportunities for out-of-school youth such as Nam. This has been a new chance for Nam, changing his life. This is one of four stories profiled in, "Four countries. Four stories” - a film collaboration between Global Child Forum and CCR CSR. The video gives voice to children who talk about the impacts of businesses on their lives. #ChildrensVoices
15-year-old Warwar Nwe was just ten years old when she had to drop out of school. “My father had to go to Yangon to get medical treatment and so, our whole family came along with him to Yangon,” she says with a sense of sadness. In Yangon, Warwar Nwe missed her old life: “I felt very sad and cried. I couldn’t see my friends and teachers anymore.” But when Warwar Nwe was 14 she heard about a garment factory recruiting young workers. This is the story about how a business initiative positively can change the life for children. It is one of four stories profiled in, "Children's Voices” - a film collaboration between Global Child Forum and CCR CSR. The video gives voice to children who talk about the impacts of businesses on their lives. #ChildrensVoices
Rongxuan has no memory of the day his mother left him behind with his grandparents so that she could return to work in Dongguan. At the time, Rongxuan was only two months old. But today, thanks to a business initiative, Rongxuan and his mother have something to celebrate. Theirs is one of four stories profiled in, "Children's Voices” - a film collaboration between Global Child Forum and CCR CSR. The video gives voice to children who talk about the impacts of businesses on their lives. #ChildrensVoices
In a world where big ideas about children’s rights are presented at high-level events, seminars and workshops, the voice of the children themselves is often conspicuously absent. Global Child Forum and CCR CSR have proudly produced a short-film that gives a voice to children, while at the same time inspiring businesses to invest in child rights. This full version film includes four short stories shot in four different countries: China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Each story can also be found as a short film. Global Child Forum and CCR CSR appreciate if being referred to if/when the films are being showcased in channels or at events where we are not present. #ChildrensVoices
On Wednesday, April 11, the 10th Global Child Forum 2018 was held at the Stockholm Royal Palace. Over 300 participants from around the world gathered to discuss child rights issues. Participants represented global companies, financial institutions, civil society, the UN, academia and government.
Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca focuses its global community investment on the pressing challenge of preventing non-communicable diseases. They do this by targeting adolescents health and major risk behaviours such as tobacco and alcohol use and unhealthy eating through the AstraZeneca Youth Health Programme. A unique feature of the programme is that combines measures for behavioural change with research and advocacy. “The youth of today are going to be the main drivers of economic development for evolving nations. One way to help them grow up healthy is to empower them with knowledge about making healthy choices.” Helen-Marie Seibel, Director, Global Community Investment, AstraZeneca In this Deep Dive, we delve deeper into the Youth Health Programme in order to understand its background story and key features. The insights are based on interviews with company representatives and publicly available resources. As part of our research on corporate children’s rights programs, we have also developed a guide for companies: “Corporate Children’s Rights Programs – Guidance and Best Practice”.
Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group initiated the Corporate Sector and Children’ Rights Benchmark study series in 2013 to fill a gap in research. The purpose of the series has been to develop a children’s rights benchmark for the corporate sector and to enable tracking of progress over time on how children’s rights are addressed by business. The data referred to in this reporting has been compiled from one global and five regional studies conducted between 2013-2016; the Nordic region, the Middle East and Northern Africa; Southern Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. In total, the reporting covers 2500 companies across nine different industries.
Global Child Forum and GES International have surveyed asset owner signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2014, 2015, and 2017, in order to understand perspectives of the investor community on integrating children’s rights issues into decision-making processes. We are now taking stock of the knowledge generated from these surveys and from recent in-depth interviews with nine investors. The main findings of our work are presented in this report. The purpose of this report is twofold: to provide information and inspiration to investors by highlighting the relevance of children’s rights, and to supply concrete tools and frameworks for applying related perspectives. We also present two company examples which serve to demonstrate how investors can work with children’s rights on a practical level.
Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group. Many of the locations in which they operate are low income countries with high levels of gender inequality. The bank is therefore taking action to make positive social and economic contributions. Since 2006, they’ve supported girls, to take on leadership roles in their communities through the Goal program.
“We are asking ourselves:
‘How can we use the bank’s resources to help these girls reach their aspirations?’” Natasha Kwakwa, Program Director, Goal Standard Chartered In this Deep Dive, we delve deeper into the Goal program in order to understand its background story and key features. The insights are based on interviews with company representatives and publicly available resources. As part of our research on corporate children’s rights programs, we have also developed a guide for companies: “Corporate Children’s Rights Programs – Guidance and Best Practice”.
Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group initiated the Corporate Sector and Children´s Rights Benchmark study series in 2013, to fill a gap in the existing research on how the corporate sector addresses children´s rights, both within their operations and in communities. We have produced one global and five regional studies: the Nordic region, the Middle East and Northern Africa; Southern Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Based on this extensive knowledge, we are now delving deeper into our data in order to provide guidance for companies on how to further their efforts to implement the Children´s Rights and Business Principles. It is evident when analysing our data that almost half (46%) of all businesses establish their own programs and/or donate to charity. We have studied the programs of 13 companies, to identify pertinent common features that can be used as building blocks for other companies. The building blocks needed for a corporate children´s rights program to achieve maximum positive impact are: Relevance, Governance, Collaboration, and Measurement. In this guide, we describe each building block in detail, followed by concrete company examples.
During 2017, Global Child Forum initiated a project aiming at demonstrating how investments in education leads to positive pay-offs not only for the community but also for business. Rightshouse was engaged to carry out the mapping exercise and deliver a database/spreadsheet categorizing collected data – and a report presenting the main findings of the assignment. The report points out that businesses recognize the central importance of education both for development in society as a whole and for the business sector specifically. But while it is well documented that the education sector globally suffers from a significant lack of resources, contributions from the private sector are limited. All findings of the mapping exercise, together with business cases, are presented in the report.
Businesses, investors and organisations alike need to understand how their actions impact children’s rights across the globe. The Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, developed with UNICEF, is the first comprehensive resource to guide companies in assessing risks to children within industry sectors and regions of operation.
Businesses, investors and organisations alike need to understand how their actions impact children’s rights across the globe. The Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, developed with UNICEF, is the first comprehensive resource to guide companies in assessing risks to children within industry sectors and regions of operation. Through indices, global interactive maps and country scorecards, the Atlas provides a quantitative assessment on the degree to which children’s rights are protected within 195 countries and across 5 industry sectors.
ISS is one of the world’s leading facility services providers, employing approximately 500,000 people across 5 continents. This Deep Dive explores the policies the corporate group has put in place to safeguard children’s rights. From the supply chain to their direct business operation in for example schools and kindergartens, the company is taking measures to address risks posed to children.
“It’s not about the adults setting restrictions on their interactions with children: it’s the children who set their own boundaries and the adults have to understand how to act in respect of that.” Lo Hjorth, Director People & Culture, ISS Facility Services AB, Sweden
Under the theme “Mobility & Connectivity: Children’s Rights and Sustainable Business”, Forum attendees were inspired through plenary panels and solution-driven ActionLabs sessions. The Forum highlighted opportunities to advance children’s rights presented by fast technological progress, a young, growing workforce and the expanding travel and tourism in the region and explored how stakeholders could ensure that children’s rights are respected and fulfilled. Read the report!
“My husband and I came out to work for our children but we couldn’t take them with us. We don’t have the time to take care of them or to cook for them…so we left them with their grandparents,” said Liu Jing*, a factory worker whose three children live with their grandparents in a village in Hunan, China. She is part of the “247 million” – the number of people who have migrated for work in China. She has been a factory worker for the past ten years, and like many in her situation, only returns home a handful of times throughout the year to see her children. If her situation can be represented by a number, so can her children’s. They belong to the “61 million”, the estimated number of children in China who grow up without one or both parents present. Behind these numbers however, are stories far more intricate, stories that have implications not only for society but for businesses as well.
SCA is one of the world’s largest companies in personal care products, with presence in approximately 100 countries. This Deep Dive looks at their journey on the way to recognising children as key stakeholders to their company and ensuring that children’s rights are integrated into their daily operations. It also describes how SCA has entered several strategic collaborations and partnerships with different organizations to further children’s rights in different ways, but always integrated with their core business. This Deep Dive is part of our series that looks at how companies find solutions and harness opportunities that create meaningful change. (Photo credit: SCA – Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi)
Save the Children has been working together with Samsung Electronics China to set up ambitious policies on child labour prevention and training all managers in China on children’s rights and how to practically approach issues specifically relating to young workers. Frank Du is vice president and in charge of Human Resources at Samsung Electronics in China. Children’s rights and business videos
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Clas Ohlson is a leading hardware retailer in Sweden with over 200 stores in five countries. They source almost 70% of their products from Asia. Save the Children has supported Clas Ohlson with a child rights focused assessment of their entire value chain and continues to offer on-site support to factories in China. Klas Balkow is the CEO of Clas Ohlson. Children’s rights and business videos
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Dongguan Concord Pottery makes ceramic cups and other items for a leading coffee shop brand. They employ around 3,000 people at their factory in Southern China. The company has worked with Save the Children’s centre for child rights since 2013 in order to improve the situation for their workers who are also parents. The partnership has meant quick and tangible improvements, not only for employees and their children, but increased staff retention and lower costs for the factory itself. Lake Law is the head of corporate social responsibility for Dongguan Concord Pottery. Children’s rights and business videos
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Together with the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) in West Java, Save the Children has been integrating a child-centred corporate social responsibility project in the hospitality sector of Indonesia. The project worked to encourage members to integrate children’s rights into their member’s business operations and strategies. One result of the project was the creation of this toolkit, which included the assistance of academics, several NGOs, and input from child and youth participants. It consists of four tools for children’s rights integration and eight tools that inspire hotels and restaurants in responding to issues and problems that most frequently arise and impact children’s rights.
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