|Children sit on a rooftop, watching the approach of a storm, in Sawa Khola Village, Nepal. Price hikes have rendered basic food items unaffordable in the area.|
By Bo Viktor Nylund
LONDON, England, 12 March 2012 – Approximately 200 leaders from business, the UN, governments, academia and civil society gathered in London today to celebrate the global release of the ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’ , the first comprehensive set of principles to guide companies on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children’s rights.
Developed by UNICEF, the United Nations Global Compact and Save the Children, this initiative leads the way in recognizing children’s rights as an essential investment in the future.
Integrating children’s rights into business
While the business and human rights agenda has evolved significantly in recent years, a child rights perspective has not yet been sufficiently incorporated into business operations.
‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’ recognizes the significant influence of businesses on children’s lives, and seeks to define standards to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the positive impacts felt by children.
The event featured a number of speakers from businesses, UN agencies and civil society, who showcased ways in which businesses can integrate child rights in core strategies and operations. These included senior executives from Ikea, Unilever, and Marks and Spencer ; business representatives described why they feel consideration of children’s rights is important to their business, and discussed challenges and opportunities in advancing this work.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’ initiative is one element of UNICEF’s new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. UNICEF recognizes that business can play a strong role in helping to advance child rights, and is working with companies as part of a comprehensive corporate engagement approach.
Child-focused CSR goes beyond simple philanthropy – it means businesses take into account the expectations and needs of children and their families as stakeholders, and are compliant not only with laws but also with international standards on children’s rights, particularly those contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Promoting child-focused CSR is in line with UNICEF’s core mission to advance child rights with all actors of society – including business.
For further information, please visit our new CSR website.