Integration of children's rights into core business
Once you have identified potential impacts on children, including risks, gaps and opportunities, the next step is to develop an action plan that aims to reduce or eliminate the risks and gaps and build support for new positive outcomes for children within specific time frames.
In addition, the following suggested actions will help you start the process of building the internal structure and commitment needed to integrate children’s issues into your daily operations:
- Assign senior management/board-level responsibility for the company’s child rights policy and its implementation.
- Incorporate a commitment to children's rights into the company’s high-level commitments on corporate responsibility, sustainability and human rights.
- Appoint and resource staff with specific obligations to ensure implementation of the children's rights policy. As a starting point, you could mandate a person or team to analyse how children relate to your business and champion a strategic corporate approach to children. Ultimately, as many people across your business may need to consider children in their work (e.g., in strategy and leadership, human resources, research, marketing, operations and manufacturing or sourcing and procurement), this staff role will be to engage and garner support from senior executives and functional managers, supporting them with the training, resources, incentives, metrics and learning networks needed to take effective action.
- Specify particular responsibilities to respect children’s rights throughout job descriptions and operational guidance.
- Train employees on children’s issues that relate to their specific responsibilities, such as human resource personnel on child labour, child sexual abuse in the workplace, children’s health and safety, etc.
- In situations where adverse impacts on children's rights have been identified, consider establishing a grievance mechanism and a dedicated person such as a corporate Ombudsman for Children.
- Develop a company policy on children's rights and ensure that it is appropriately supported with relevant procedures, supply chain and procurement standards, accountabilities and budget. Ensure that other relevant company policies and operational procedures do not conflict with company commitments, policies and procedures to respect children's rights.
- Ensure that adverse impacts on children’s rights are integrated into existing due diligence, management, and monitoring and reporting systems.
The workbook "Children are Everyone's Business" is the tool that will help companies to integrate Children's Rights into their core business.
Children are Everyone's Business: A practical workbook to help companies understand and address their impact on children's rights
No. of pages: 120
Publication date: June 2012
Language: English, Spanish
Recommended printing settings: print in colors and check the box "fit to printable area".
Corporate actions to safeguard any aspect of children’s rights must be undertaken in a holistic way where companies address material issues in the workplace, marketplace and the community. This is the key message that accompanies UNICEF’s release of a new pilot Workbook for businesses that sets out a comprehensive approach to understanding and addressing corporate impacts on children’s rights.
The UNICEF pilot Workbook helps business to take action to demonstrate their respect and support for children’s rights. Each chapter of the workbook provides guidance to companies on how to minimize or prevent harmful impacts on children as well as methods to enhance their positive impacts in the workplace, marketplace and community. Each chapter also includes short case studies and links to additional resources that provide deeper insight into core areas of interest depending on the company’s specific operating context.
The Workbook builds upon the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which established the global standards for company practices regarding their duty to respect the human rights of every person. It is also aligned with the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, which were released in March by UNICEF, the UN Global Impact, and Save the Children.
The Workbook fills a significant gap in existing literature related to impact of business on children’s rights. The Workbook is currently being released as a pilot publication as part of ongoing efforts to collect and integrate user input.
With the Workbook in hand, companies now have a practical framework for understanding and assessing their footprint on children’s rights as well as recommendations for making substantive changes in their behaviour as it relates to children.
With this release, UNICEF encourages companies and relevant stakeholders, including civil society and governments, to use the Workbook to deliver real and lasting changes to children around the world.
UNICEF welcomes recommendations and feedback from users and invites companies to share case studies demonstrating their commitment to the business and children’s rights agenda. please contact firstname.lastname@example.org