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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What are the reasons for making children’s voices an integral part of processes, the benefits and challenges of implementing children’s participation, and their experiences consulting and collaborating with children.
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”
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.
This working paper was prepared for the Global Child Forum (2015) at the Royal Palace in Stockholm by Johanna von Bahr (PhD Candidate). The paper addresses issues related to general advertising and market legislation, broadcast regulation, and legislation on advertising and marketing of food products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS products). It aims to provide an overview of children’s rights protection legislation on advertising covering thirty-nine middle and high-income countries.
This case study is an in depth investigation into how Stora Enso, a company with a strong reputation for social responsibility was found itself in a crisis over child labour in its supply chain. The report details how the company, which employs 27, 000 people worldwide, which had scored highly in the Global Child Forum’s Children’s Rights Benchmark for the Corporate Sector (2014) still came short and also what they have done to try and remedy the situation.
This report presents the results from a survey on how 280 institutional investors integrate children’s rights in their responsible investment policies and practices. The survey is based on a questionnaire developed by GES and Global Child Forum regarding investor expectations and achievements related to children’s rights. We invited 280 asset owner signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) worldwide to participate in the survey. Thirty-one investors responded. The Investor Perspectives on Children’s Rights 2015 is a follow-up of the inaugural survey presented and discussed at the Global Child Forum in Stockholm in April 2014.
This study assesses more than 1,000 publicly listed companies in eight sectors with high exposure to children’s rights issues: Food & Beverage, Consumer Goods, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Travel & Tourism, Basic Materials, Industrial Goods, Oil & Gas and Healthcare. This report shows the extent to which these companies address and report on children’s rights. Being a global study the report shows how reporting varies with geography and industry sector.
This study is based on a questionnaire and publicly available information. The questionnaire was developed by Global Child Forum and GES was used as a framework when assessing investor’s public information. The targeted organisations were 195 investors in Europe and USA, 22 investors responded.
This study was commissioned by the Global Child Forum and written by Boston Consulting Group. The study was based on interviews and surveys with around 400 CEOs globally, representing over 60 countries and 20 industries of various sizes.
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