UNICEF's corporate partnerships

About UNICEF & CSR

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The last few decades have seen a shift in society’s understanding and awareness of the impact and role of business in society.  For UNICEF, a focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has entailed a reflection on how business affects the lives of children and the fulfilment of their rights. 

Firstly, business has a significant impact on children’s rights – both positive and negative. Companies interact with children on a daily basis – children are workers in factories and fields, consumers of products, family members of employees and community members in the neighbourhoods where business operates.  Secondly, this impact is wide ranging.  In addition to important issues of child labour and young workers, companies also affect children through products and services, marketing methods, relationships with local and national governments, and investments in local communities. There is today recognition that in addition to complying with national law, business has a responsibility to respect international standards on human rights, including those of children. Beyond this -- business can also play a key role in supporting and promoting children’s rights.  Yet, children have not been adequately considered by the business sector, and governments across many countries have not adequately taken the steps that are necessary to prevent and address abuses of children’s rights that may have resulted from business activities.

Building on its core mandate and expertise, UNICEF plays an important role in addressing negative business impacts on children and promoting positive action to support children’s rights in the context of business activities and relationships – through working directly with business, with governments (and their duty to protect children from such violations and create an enabling environment for business and human rights), with civil society, young people and other stakeholders.

 

Children's Rights & Business Video

Children are not only rights holders, but they are also stakeholders in business as companies interact with them on a daily basis as workers, consumers and community members. Despite this, children have not been adequately considered by business. The incorporation of children’s rights into corporate due diligence processes is most often limited to child labour. Yet the impacts of business on children extend to such issues as product design and advertising, the behaviour of staff or subcontractors towards children, community resettlement and children’s rights in the supply and value chain.

This video takes you through a visual journey of what children’s rights in business means; from the Convention on the Right of the Child to the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. It makes the case for children’s rights in business including through the voice of business leaders.

 

 

Role of government in children’s rights and business

Governments play a critical role in making sure that businesses respect and support children’s rights in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  To clarify their responsibilities, the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013 issued General Comment No. 16 on State obligations regarding the impact of the business sector on children’s rights.  The General Comment explains national authorities’ obligations to respect, protect and fulfill children’s rights in the context of business activities, operations and relationships.

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To contact the UNICEF CSR Unit: Email: csr@unicef.org

To learn more about CSR please visit: www.unicef.org/csr

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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