Growth in countries across the region has varied. Among several long-term challenges are an aging population, declining productivity, weakening investment, and climate change.
The share of the working-age population in the region has fallen dramatically, due largely to declining fertility rates in the 1990s and productivity has slowed and along with investment growth has also slowed. And, parts of the region – particularly Central Asia and the Western Balkans – are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as droughts, flooding, and more frequent natural disasters.
The scale of the changes has had a serious impact on children. Rising poverty, unemployment and falling social spending have excluded vast numbers of children from any economic progress that has been made. Coupled with the migration crisis, millions of families are under pressure as the systems that once guided their lives have vanished.
But this region also has tremendous assets that, if mobilized, could provide a protective environment around each child and ensure all rights for all children. This region is home to one of the most literate populations, people who value education and culture and it’s young people are a dynamic resource. Business can help to mobilize these human assets for the prosperity of the entire region.
To evaluate country-level data based on children’s rights indicators, visit the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas.
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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. The research looked at both EBITDA margin and Total Shareholder Return (TSR) for all 853 companies surveyed. Download the study to learn more about the results.
Vodafone’s purpose is to “connect for a better future” enabling an inclusive and sustainable digital society. Its know-how and scale – with over 315 million mobile customers in Europe and across Africa – gives it a unique opportunity to drive positive change for society. Vodafone’s networks connect family, friends, businesses and governments and play a vital role in keeping economies running, including critical sectors like education and healthcare. With such scale, Vodafone recognises not only the positive impacts on people’s rights from digital technology, but also the potential that its operations could impact human rights – including children’s rights, even though Vodafone’s services are not marketed to them. Based on this insight, the company has been working actively to strengthen children’s rights across their business in the several ways, elaborated in this case study:
As a global electronics company with more than 260 000 employees in 74 countries, one of the core values of Samsung is “People First”. Based on the firm belief that a company is only as good as its employees, and with an ambition to continue to be an attractive employer, the company has prioritised implementing a range of family-friendly policies promoting employee wellbeing and work-life balance. The case study was published together with the global benchmark; The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2021. Click here to get to the full report. Download the case study to learn more.
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.
In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in the Nordic Region, this report draws on one of Global Child Forum’s essential research products: 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. In 2016, Global Child Forum, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, published a benchmark study of the 299 largest companies in the region. This report is a follow-up to that study. An updated benchmark analysis has been conducted on 20 of the region’s largest companies.
In this video Alinde Melin, Global Children's Rights Leader at Inter IKEA Group, shares how children's ideas and perspective influence IKEA. 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 this video we asked Alinde Melin, Global Children's Rights Leader at Inter IKEA Group, why IKEA has chosen to include children's voices in their work and what's in it for them. 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.
How can businesses work effectively with communities, NGOs and governments to mitigate their negative impacts on local communities while increasing their social contribution? This question was discussed by the following panellists at the Global Child Forum at the Royal Palace earlier this year: Brian Ganson, Head at the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement, University of Stellenbosch Business School; Nina Schefte, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Norsk Hydro and Simon Lord, Chief Sustainability Officer at Sime Darby Plantation Berhad. Additionally, Professor John Knox, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, shared some of his recent findings.
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
In the report The Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights in the Nordic Region, Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group published the results from a benchmarking of how the 299 largest1 listed Nordic companies address children’s rights in their public reporting. To compare the findings from the screening of publicly listed companies, we assessed 30 non-listed Nordic companies; the 15 largest privately owned and the 15 largest state-owned. A summary of those results are presented below2. Of a total possible score of 9, the privately owned companies scored on average 2.1 points, while state-owned companies scored 3.7 on average. In contrast, the 15 largest listed companies scored 5.1 on average. One explanation for the difference could be due to the region’s stringent regulations on sustainability, reporting, and board accountability that affect primarily listed and state-owned companies. Due to the small sample size, not all industries are fully represented; approximately half of the private companies are in the Consumer Goods industry, with the remainder spread across Oil, Gas and Utilities, Food and Beverage and Industrials. The state-owned companies assessed are in all of the industries except ICT. RESULTS PER INDICATOR (%) When looking at the results for each of the indicators, it is notable that:
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)
How are Nordic companies doing on children’s rights? Nordic companies have a reputation for innovation and socially responsible forward-thinking. But how do the Nordics stack up when reporting on children’s rights? Global Child Forum just launched the report focusing on the Nordic region – Children’s Rights and the Corporate Sector in the Nordic Region. This study is the latest in a series of regional and global benchmarks which scans companies from all compass points and identifies if they report on children’s rights indicators. Do Nordic companies integrate children’s rights into core operations? Address and report on children’s rights issues? Engage with programs that benefit children? The Nordic benchmark study scores 300 top companies headquartered in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland on these, and other, indicators. The benchmark then assigns both an aggregate regional score as well as individual company scores. All companies included in the study also receive a scorecard with their result and are given an opportunity to respond or give feedback. What are people saying? Read selected media coverage: Bloomberg: Nordics Lose Halo in Study Ranking Them With Emerging Markets Reuters: Nordic companies fall short on transparency over child rights Dagens Industri: Lågt engagemang för barnens rätt Sisua Radio/Sveriges Radio: Pohjoismaiset suuryritykset eivät loista lasten oikeuksien saralla Aktuell Hållbart: DEBATT Företag måste stärka kontrollen över sina leverantörsled, skriver Théo Jaekel och Jasmin Draszka-Ali, från advokatfirman Vinge.”Barnrättsfrågor – en blind fläck för nordiska storbolag”
Save the Children is helping the leading Nordic toy and children’s products retailer to assess all their impact on children, from supplier to toy store. Christoffer Falkman is the Sustainability Specialist at TOP-TOY. Children’s rights and business videos
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Following a public scandal of child labour in their supply chain, Stora Enso worked with Save the Children to review their sustainability processes and train employees on children’s rights and business principles. Stora Enso is a leading forest, paper and packaging company with over 27,000 employees. Karl-Henrik Sundström is the CEO of Stora Enso. Children’s rights and business videos
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ICA is the leading grocery retailer in Sweden and one of the biggest actors in the Baltic states. ICA also works with sourcing and sales of non-food items. The company is one of the co-founders of the WeSupport project together with Save the Children’s centre for child rights. Maria Smith is the director of Environment and Social Responsibility at ICA. Children’s rights and business videos
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Swedbank Robur is one of the largest asset managers in Scandinavia and the Baltic region and has worked with Save the Children since 2009. As an owner and investor Swedbank Robur can influence companies to take child rights into account. Anna Nilsson is Head of Sustainability at Swedbank Robur. Children’s rights and business videos
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The case study explores IKEA’s commitments to children’s rights. The study looks into how IKEA went from being a company which did not mention children (or their rights) to making them central stakeholders of their company. IKEA is also an advocate, both internally and externally, of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.
This reference documents gives concrete guidance on how to report on children’s rights. This document can serve as both a tool for companies to assess themselves, or to get a greater understanding of the Global Child Forum’s methodology in carrying out its benchmark studies.
The infographic is a quick snapshot of a few of our reports, including: Children’s Rights and the Corporate Sector (Global Study, 2014), Children’s Rights and the Corporate Sector (MENA Study, 2014), Children Rights and the Corporate Sector (Southern Africa Study, 2015). The infographic includes short summaries of the studies carried out by the Global Child Forum and Boston Consulting Group highlighting key conclusions of the studies.
Select a region, industry or theme below to learn more about our work there.