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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The world has taken on a tremendous task: to eliminate child labour. Global Goal for Sustainable Development no 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth states that by 2025 child labour in all its forms shall be eliminated. This is ambitious as the target is supposed to be reached five years earlier than 2030, the end date for the Global Goals as a whole. At the same time, the latest report on child labour from the International Labour Organization (ILO), shows that even though child labour is on the decline, it’s not declining fast enough, and in recent years, the pace has slowed considerably. At the current rate, the ILO estimates that by 2025, 121 million children will still be in child labour. So, what are we doing wrong? And more importantly, how can we improve, so that child labour can finally be a thing of the past?
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.
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.
What makes for a good child labour policy? Despite the fact that businesses are more aware of and increasingly proficient in developing responses to child labour risks, our findings raise concerns around the actual impact of the policies in place and their implementation throughout operations and supply chains. To provide guidance on these issues, this study presents a set of 10 business approaches to combat child labour together with examples of business practices that show promise. These approaches aim to provide innovative pathways for companies that want to begin their journey of responding to child labour risks, ensuring they comply with their responsibilities, and then continue on, achieving increasingly sustainable methods to support accountability for eradicating child labour.
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.
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.
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.
The Children’s Rights and Business Atlas helps businesses identify potential impacts on the lives of children, especially where it is most needed, and guides the integration of children’s rights into company due diligence practices and procedures.
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.
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!
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.
For more information on the report contact:
Nina Vollmer, Research Manager
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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
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)
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.
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”
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.
Sansiri is a leading private real estate company in Thailand with a revenue of $864 million for 2014. The deep dive explores some of the company’s initiatives, such as its educational programs, its corporate structure in regards to sustainability and its work alongside the government and the World Health Organisation to improve health benefits for migrant workers.
This deep dive explores Sime Darby’s Corporate Social Responsibility profile in relation to children’s rights. Operating in 26 countries and with 130, 000 employees, Sime Darby is one of the largest Malaysian based conglomerates. Sime Darby’s child protection policy, collaboration with Non-Governmental Organisations, understanding of key material risks and governance structure are all explored.
This deep dive explores Thai Union’s Corporate Social Responsibility profile. As a leading seafood company in Thailand, Thai Union works within an industry which is still defined by a multitude of family owned businesses. The study looks at how the company attempts to limit child labour and increase access to education, as well as looking at its code of conduct, collaboration with Non-Governmental Organisations and future projects.
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 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 benchmark study investigates the two hundred-seventy-one largest publicly traded companies in Southern Africa. 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 271 companies selected represent nine different industry sectors that are exposed to, or whose operations impact with, children’s rights issues. The industry sectors are Food & Beverage, Consumer Goods, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Travel & Leisure, Basic Materials, Industrial Good, Oil & Gas, Healthcare, and Financials. 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 benchmark study investigates 353 publicly listed companies in the region. Without measuring actual performance or compliance, the study aims to highlight if and how these companies address and report on children’s rights. The 353 companies were selected from industry sectors with exposure to children’s rights issues: Food & Beverage, Consumer goods, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Travel & Tourism, Basic materials, Industrial goods, Oil & Gas, and Healthcare.
‘Children’s Rights in Sustainability Reporting’ is a practical tool to help companies with reporting and communicating on how they are respecting and supporting children’s rights. Companies can support children's rights through their policies, processes and operations in the workplace, marketplace and community. Each of the ten Children's Rights and Business Principles is explained and discussed. This tool is meant to be used in conjunction with other UNICEF tools for corporate social responsibility (CSR). The companion tools, ‘ Children’s Rights in Impact Assessments ' and ‘ Children’s Rights in Policies and Codes of Conduct ’, provide companies with guidance on how to incorporate children’s rights into a social or human rights impact assessment framework, as outlined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund
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.
Save the Children Sweden ...
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.
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.
UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund
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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