Incorporating children's rights into PoliciesThe journey begins with a conscious decision and endorsement by the company's management, stating that children’s rights are a core part of the company’s guiding sustainability framework. This endorsement can be made and communicated through company policies, business principles and company codes or alternatively it can also be part of an industry association level code of conduct or similar.
A child rights related review of existing policies and procedures aims to identify the key children’s rights issues already covered by your existing company policies and procedures and where the potential gaps are. Many companies already have general sustainability policies in place that embrace many of the broader issues affecting communities and children. These policies should be reviewed to make sure that they consider any adverse impacts to children’s rights as well as actions that seek to advance children’s rights.
Some companies have taken explicit steps to protect children specifically in areas where impacts and risks are most visible and clearly linked to the core of their business – for example, a code of conduct that prohibits child labour in the supply chain or family friendly workplace policies that serve children’s rights. In countries where children’s safety and welfare are highly regulated, companies may already have policies that safeguard children with respect to other parts of their operations. These policies should be reviewed in light of the company’s newly acquired knowledge on children’s rights, ensuring that the policies are built on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.
Once you have identified the policy and procedure gaps, your company can amend existing policies and procedures or develop new ones as needed. You may decide, for example, that your company needs one overarching child policy statement. It is useful to engage with local stakeholders and seek expert advice to prepare the policy.
Read the workbook "Children are Everyone's Business" P31