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Children’s Rights are at the heart of ‘Business’

© UNICEF Serbia/Zoran Jovanovic Maccak

Belgrade, 24 June 2011 – National consultations on the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles” were held today in Belgrade with the participation of over 30 representatives of the private sector, civil society organisations and media outlets.

“Business has enormous potential to impact children’s lives – both positively and negatively. The Children’s Rights and Business Principles offer companies an unprecedented opportunity to become a more beneficial force for children, maximizing their positive impacts while minimizing any negative ones”, said UNICEF Serbia Deputy Representative Lesley Miller in her introductory address. 

The Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP), to be launched this November, will be the first comprehensive set of principles to guide companies on the full range of actions they may take in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children’s rights.

The private sector can make an important contribution towards the realization of child rights not only through its own practices and policies, but also by using its influence to change attitudes, policies and institutions.
This timely initiative addresses a void in children’s rights, and also reflects a rising interest within the corporate sector to move beyond the “do no harm” mentality and help foster child-friendly environments within stronger, more resilient communities.  Aside from the moral imperative of protecting children, the principles also make good business sense.

The consultative process is also held online, in the organisation of the UN Global Compact, UNICEF and Save the Children. Suggestions and comments from the private sector, media and civil society organisations from all over the world will help shape the Children’s Rights and Business Principles document which aims to set the standard for child-friendly businesses everywhere.

 “While the culture of corporate sustainability has broadened considerably in recent years, a child rights perspective is often absent during discussions regarding the human rights responsibilities of business,” said Christopher L. Avery, Director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, which is hosting the online consultation.

© UNICEF Serbia/Zoran Jovanovic Maccak
UNICEF Serbia Deputy Representative Lesley Miller presents the Principles

Supporting the Children’s Rights and Business Principles can help companies minimize material risks and discover new business opportunities. Research suggests that child-friendly policies and practices may be indicative of good corporate governance and better risk management - enhancing brand value, increasing employee satisfaction, driving consumer loyalty, and contributing to more sustainable value creation in the long term.

Intended to be a unifying point of reference for the impact of business activities on children, the Principles aim to cover a broad range of categories, including:

- respecting and protecting children’s rights in the  workplace and supply chain 
- establishing family-friendly working conditions that support parents or caregivers
- ensuring that products and services to which children may be exposed are safe, don’t impact children’s lives negatively and are marketed in an ethical manner
- considering the impact of business activities on their surroundings, safeguarding the environment for future generations, and making sure business operations do not result in the displacement of communities.

UN Global Compact, UNICEF and Save the Children are inviting businesses, civil societies and media outlets to take an active role in developing a global standard of business principles pertaining to children’s rights which will serve them as a useful guide in the realisation of children rights and at the same time help them maximise their corporate responsibility commitments.

About the Children’s Rights & Business Principles
The Children’s Rights & Business Principles (CRBP) is a joint initiative by UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children to offer guidance to businesses on children’s rights in the workplace and beyond. Based on extensive consultations with business and civil society stakeholders from all geographic regions the principles will enable the private sector to maximize positive impacts on children’s lives by respecting and supporting their rights. The CRBP will be released in November 2011. Stakeholder participation in the consultation process is strongly encouraged. Please visit (http://www.business-humanrights.org/) for more information and to participate.

For more information please contact:

UNICEF Serbia - Vesna Savic Djukic, Tel: +381 63 344 106, vsavic@unicef.org
Chamber of Commerce of Serbia -  Ana Tomas, Tel:  +381 11 3300 039, ana.tomas@pks.rs
UNICEF Geneva - Larissa Schlotterbeck, Tel: +41 22 909 5477,lschlotterbeck@unicef.org
UNICEF New York -  Janine Kandel,  Tel + 1 212 326 7684, jkandel@unicef.org
UN Global Compact New York - Matthias Stausberg, Tel: +1(917) 367-3423, stausberg@un.org
Save the Children Stockholm - Sara Johansson, Tel +46 8698 91 20, sara.johansson@rb.se

 

 

 
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