Children under 18 years of age account for almost one third of the world’s population. In many countries, children and youth make up almost one half of the national population. It is inevitable that business, whether small or large, will interact with and have an effect on the lives of children, both directly and indirectly. Children are key stakeholders of business, as consumers, family members of employees, young workers, and as future employees and business leaders. At the same time, children are key members of the communities and environments in which business operates.
Respecting and supporting children’s rights requires business to both prevent harm and actively safeguard children’s interests. By integrating respect and support for children’s rights into the core strategies and operations, they can strengthen their existing corporate sustainability initiatives while ensuring benefits for their business. Such efforts can build reputation, improve risk management and secure their ‘social license to operate’.
A commitment to children can also help recruit and maintain a motivated workforce. Supporting employees in their roles as parents and caregivers, and promoting youth employment and talent generation are just some of the concrete steps that business can take. Considering how products and services can better meet children’s needs can also be a source of innovation and create new markets. Finally, working for children helps build strong, well-educated communities that are vital to a stable, inclusive and sustainable business environment.