Integrating Children's Rights into your business
Making a corporate commitment to respect and support children’s rights is the first step of the ongoing journey to become a child-friendly business. A child-friendly business complies with the law and respects children’s rights wherever it operates. It also creates value through its policies and operations, products and services, and initiatives and influence that promote the best interests of children.
A child-friendly business appreciates that philanthropic donations are important demonstrations of a company’s commitment to children’s well-being. At the same time, it also understands that incorporating children’s rights into its sustainability agenda goes well beyond philanthropy as it seeks to achieve long-term positive outcomes for children.
Many companies begin this process with a reactive approach that may be focused only on legal compliance around a single hot issue such as child labour or product safety. Recognizing its broader potential and actual impacts on children, a child-friendly business initiates appropriate policies and actions that identify, prevent and mitigate its impact on children’s rights. In addition to respecting children’s rights, a child-friendly business seeks way to advance children’s rights through core business activities, strategic social investments and public policy engagement.
The five steps described in this section outline a process and methods to incorporate children’s rights into your sustainability agenda informed by the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Depending on where your company is in the human rights due diligence process, you can follow the steps as written or vary the order. As the Guiding Principles note, due diligence should be ongoing and dynamic, recognizing that human rights risks may change over time, as does the context of a business and as you acquire new information or experience.
UNICEF is currently developing tools and guidance to support companies in the implementation of Children’s Rights and Business Principles. This material will be piloted with a group of companies already engaged in child rights related CSR and the finalised documentation will be made available on these pages in due time.