Integrating Children's Rights into your business
For many companies, children are a priority stakeholder group. At the same time, they are often the most vulnerable population, requiring specific attention to guarantee respect for their human rights. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide a broad framework through which companies can operationalize their respect for human rights, and they call on all businesses to pay particular attention to groups or populations that may be more vulnerable or marginalized. Although they are considered to be a vulnerable group, children can also be priority stakeholders as companies interact with children on a daily basis, as workers, consumers and community members. Despite this, children’s issues have not been adequately considered by business.
There are many aspects of respecting and supporting children’s rights that simultaneously generate benefits for business. Among the most significant advantages a company can gain by implementing child rights policies and practices is the potential to:
Achieve better risk management through an expanded definition of risk that incorporates environmental and social issues, including human rights, and by ensuring that health, safety and product responsibilities safeguard children’s interests and address their vulnerabilities.
Build reputation and help secure the ‘social licence to operate’ by demonstrating that the beneficial impacts of companies’ products, responsible marketing and good relationships with local communities can meet the needs of parents and children.
Recruit and retain a motivated workforce through fair wages and decent working conditions, enabling employees who are parents or caregivers to combine their family responsibilities with a productive work life, thereby increasing production capacities and reducing absenteeism.
Develop the next generation of talent by supporting apprenticeship programmes and education initiatives that will equip young people with workplace skills such as decision making and leadership.
Contribute to a stable and sustainable business environment by working for the good of children and helping to build strong, well educated communities, robust businesses and healthy economies.
Children Are Everyone’s Business Workbook 2.0
Date: August, 2014
‘Children Are Everyone’s Business: Workbook 2.0’ is a comprehensive tool designed to guide companies through the ongoing process of learning about and integrating children’s rights into business policies and management processes. It follows and builds on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, which were developed through consultations led by UNICEF, Save the Children and the United Nations Global Compact, and provides practical guidance for implementing the Principles.
For each of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, the workbook provides summarized information on how companies can:
- Learn about and better understand the child rights issues relevant to each Principle.
- Determine the contexts where child rights risks or opportunities may be more prevalent.
- Assess critical areas of potential or actual impact on children’s rights, and identify actions for improvement.
- Take actions to integrate children’s rights based on impact assessment findings.