Recurrent and chronic crises are increasingly affecting Latin America and the Caribbean. The frequency and dispersion of natural disasters, as well as the growing number of young people, mean that the number of children affected is increasing. Latin America and the Caribbean continues to underperform in education: around one out of every three youth doesn’t finish high school. Investment in education quality will play an important role in allowing the poor to contribute to and benefit from future economic growth.
As well as natural disasters and health-related emergencies, the region is also facing other phenomenas such as increased violence and migration. According to UNICEF, 27.8 million children still have no access to basic sanitation services and 7.3 million lack access to drinking water.
With this background, business needs to understand their role and response to climate change and risk management as well as prioritize investment in urban and climate policies.
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 South America, 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 2017, Global Child Forum, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, published a benchmark study of the 300 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.
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.
Norsk Hydro entered Brazil in 2011 with a long history of fostering healthy communities that grew up around its operations in Norway. The company therefore had no small sense of the responsibilities of being an actor with an enormous impact on the lives of its workers and neighbours. The difficult history and operating environment of the Amazon region, however, challenge Hydro’s commitment to go “beyond compliance” to make a positive difference – particularly with regard to vulnerable populations, including children. This case study is no. 3 in a series of company reflections for Global Child Forum on how companies address children’s rights and child-related issues. All our reports and case studies can be found in our Knowledge Center.
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
The Global Child Forum on South America, held on 4 April 2017 in São Paulo, Brazil, brought together leaders from business, civil society and government to address the issue of “Investing in Every Child”. The South America Forum, the 9th for the organisation, brought together over 300 delegates to discuss the current state of children’s rights in the region and call upon business to take concrete actions in their business to create an inclusive economy – one that is equitable and creates opportunities for all.
This year’s Global Child Forum welcomed heads of state and heads of companies, leaders from civil society and learners from across South America and beyond. All came together with the goal of providing the region’s children with the best possible path to productive adulthood. All came together with the belief that the business sector is key to achieving that goal. Nearly 400 delegates gathered in the FIESP building on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, its soaring modernist architecture a fitting backdrop for tackling a far-reaching children’s rights agenda. Read the Forum report — full of inspiration, ideas for action and case stories.
How are South American companies doing on children’s rights?
The Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights in South America is the latest in a series of regional and global benchmarks, done in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which scans companies from all compass points and identifies if they report on children’s rights indicators.
Do South American companies integrate children’s rights into core operations? Address and report on children’s rights issues? Engage with programs that benefit children?
The South American benchmark study scored 282 top companies headquartered in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Uruguay 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.
Regional Industry Results (Average score per industry)
The benchmark report was launched at the Global Child Forum on South America on April 4th 2017 in São Paulo, Brazil.
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Some medium-sized enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean are putting in place paternity packages that give their working fathers time to invest in their children. Marcelo Ber, Regional Child Rights and Business Focal Point for UNICEF Latin America, talks to new father, Rodrigo, on why spending time with his baby daughter is a valued employee benefit - for the short-term and long-term.
Millicom is an international telecommunications and media company and offers a wide range of digital services primarily under the “Tigo” brand. Through their due-diligence and community initiatives, the company is committed to mitigating potential risks to children posed by their operations. Millicom also engages with the communities in which they operate in an effort to promote the opportunities technology can offer children and build awareness of children’s rights. This Deep Dive is part of our series that looks at how companies find solutions and harness opportunities that create meaningful change.
Centrais Elétricas de Santa Catarina – CELESC, provides large areas of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina with electricity. As a partially state-owned service provider, the company has strong ties to the local communities that they serve, and has identified a number of ways to make a direct contribution to children’s rights. This Deep Dive is part of our series that looks at how companies find solutions and harness opportunities that create meaningful change.
“As a big company with operations in a large geographical area, we have the opportunity to reach many people and make a difference in society.” Regina Schlickmann Luciano, Socio-Environmental Responsibility Advisor, CELESC(Image/photo credit: CELESC)
As one of the leading providers of telecommunications services in Argentina, Grupo Telecom is conscious of their impact on the everyday lives of their customers. Understanding that children and adolescents are important users of their services, the company has identified protection online as a management priority. This Deep Dive is part of our series that looks at how companies find solutions and harness opportunities that create meaningful change.
“In the era of mobile connectivity, where children have access to multiple devices, it’s vital to equip them with a critical judgement that provides them with the necessary resources for their protection. It is also important that parents and adults can guide children in the responsible use of technology, so that they can learn in a safe and constructive environment.” Pedro Lopez Matheu, Director of Government Relations(Image/photo credit: Grupo Telecom)
Communication and Media, Grupo Telecom
Selected as a UN Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, Colombia’s Carolina Medina is, no doubt, goal-oriented. She wants to ensure that urban households have access to healthy and affordable food. A well-fed child, after all, has the opportunity to become well-educated child. Through her start-up, Agruppa, Medina is making this goal a reality – one “Mom and Pop” shop at a time.
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)
Paul Sistare is a man on a mission. As the Founder and CEO of Atlantica Hotels International (Brasil), he not only ensures that his guests get a good night’s rest, but he makes sure that he does too. How does he do this? By knowing that he, and the whole Atlantica Hotel chain, promotes sustainable tourism with a special emphasis on protecting children’s rights.
Save the Children Sweden invited its partners in the Latin America and Caribbean region to a two-day workshop in Lima, Peru, 7-8 August 2013. The main goal was to share experiences and test tools for civil society to work with the private sector in favour of children's rights. The event provided an opportunity to introduce the Children's Rights and Business Principles and served as a platform for civil society organisations across the region to engage in dialogue and discuss experiences, opportunities and challenges in the dissemination and implementation of the Principles. The event brought together civil society delegates from Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and included community-based movements, coalitions, foundations, and NGOs. This report summarizes the participants' inputs and conclusions regarding their engagement with business on matters related to children’s rights.
Save the Children
This benchmark study investigates the 289 largest publicly traded companies in Southeast Asia (based on revenue for 2014). Without measuring actual performance or compliance, the study aims to highlight if and how these companies address and report on children’s rights by reviewing and assessing publicly available information against nine indicators. The 289 companies selected represent nine different industry sectors that are exposed to or whose operations impact children’s rights issues. The purpose of the benchmark studies is to to analyse trends on a global and regional scale and to enable tracking of progress on how the corporate sector addresses children’s rights over time.
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.