Business reporting

One way in which companies can work to improve their impacts on children is through their reporting. When done well, corporate reporting can provide company directors with the necessary information for managing their impacts on society in general and on children in particular. Reporting on children’s rights 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 (UNICEF 2014a). Yet as the Committee on the Rights of the Child has said ‘As part of child-rights due diligence, large business enterprises should be encouraged and, where appropriate, required to make public their efforts to address child-rights impacts’ (UN 2013).

Studies by Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group have assessed how companies address and report on children’s rights. More information can be found in the resources below.

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Corporate Responses to Protecting Children's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa

In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa, 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 2014, Global Child Forum, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, published a benchmark study of the 350 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.

benchmark study

Corporate Responses to Protecting Children's Rights in South America

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.

benchmark study

Corporate Responses to Protecting Children's Rights in Southeast Asia

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.

benchmark study

Norsk Hydro Brazil's journey towards social responsibility

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.

case study

Global Report: The Corporate Sector and Children's Rights

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.

benchmark study

Additional insight: Private & State-owned companies

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. GCF - BCG Nordic addendum - grafik1 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 (%) GCF - BCG Nordic addendum - grafik2 When looking at the results for each of the indicators, it is notable that:

  • None of the privately owned companies have received points on Board Accountability and only two companies (13%) have identified their potential impact on children’s rights in risk assessments and materiality analyses.
  • The private and state-owned companies are lagging behind the listed companies when it comes to reporting on the results of their policies, for example against child labour, and establishing strategic collaborations with child rights organisations.
  • The privately owned companies have an opportunity to improve in addressing children’s rights issues other than child labour, such as product responsibility, responsible marketing or sexual exploitation. ___________________________ Based on revenue.  For more information about the methodology and the indicators used in the screening, please see The Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights in the Nordic Region. Companies that score between 6–9 points are considered high-scorers. Here, only state-owned and privately held companies are shown. For the high-scoring publicly listed companies, please see The Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights in the Nordic Region. The IKEA Group is regstered in the Netherlands. As a consequence, they are not part of the sample of companies included in the total average score of private Nordic companies. However, because of their Nordic origins, their child rights practices have been analysed for the sake of knowledge sharing.   Photo credit: Peter Tandlun

  • benchmark study

    Children's Rights and the Corporate Sector in the Nordic Region

    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”

    benchmark study

    How to use the Children's Rights and Business Principles: A Guide for Civil Society Organizations, 2nd Edition

    This Guide is written for civil society organizations that use or wish to use the Children’s Rights and Business Principles to engage with businesses in monitoring, enforcing and advancing children’s rights. To give a broad perspective on the ways that civil society might seek to work with companies, organizations’ diverse missions, goals and methods of working are taken into account. As a result, this Guide can be used by a wide range of civil society actors in considering, developing and reviewing their approaches to and relationships with business entities. Advocacy is a central focus, with the primary goal being to hold businesses accountable for their impacts on children’s rights. The Guide is divided into Five Parts Part I introduces the Guide and establishes the international relevance of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. Part II explains the corporate duty to respect and commitment to support children’s rights in theory and in practice. Part III explores each of the nine substantive Children’s Rights & Business Principles in detail. Part IV addresses ways that additional stakeholders including government, the media, consumers and children can enhance cooperation between business and civil society in matters of children’s rights. Part V offers conclusions and a selection of  resources for further research.

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    Save the Children Sweden ...

    Children's Rights in Policies and Codes of Conduct. A tool for companies

    A guidance for business on integrating children’s rights considerations into company policies and processes, developed by UNICEF and Save the Children. This tool for companies recommends ways for all businesses to incorporate children’s rights into their policies and codes of conduct, based on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. It reaches beyond the traditional focus areas of child labour and philanthropy and outlines the child rights elements that are relevant to all companies. At the same time, it is intended to be flexible and adaptable, and includes elements that companies can adopt and integrate as appropriate, based on their biggest areas of risk and opportunity. The tool comprises three main parts: The first part gives a detailed introduction to the tool and background on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles; Part 2 includes information on how to get started and describes how a commitment to respect and support children’s rights can be integrated within company statements of business principles and codes of conduct; Part 3 outlines the elements that all companies should consider integrating into their human rights and other policies, under Principle 1. It also includes policy recommendations to be considered based on a company’s particular direct and indirect impacts, under Principles 2–10. The information under Principle 4 summarizes when and how companies should develop a stand-alone child protection policy or code of conduct.

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    UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund

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