Zagreb, 27 September 2019 – The “Better Business for Children” Conference presented the results of the first national research on the impact of the business sector on children’s rights and the Advisory Body on Children’s Rights and Socially Responsible Business, working under the guidance of UNICEF, on the fulfilment of children’s rights in the business community.
The main aims of the research, initiated by UNICEF, were to better understand the extent to which children’s rights are recognised as part of socially responsible business in Croatia and to determine the most important obstacles and motivational factors for enterprises and other stakeholders in Croatia to ensure their greater engagement in children’s rights.
One of the most important conclusions of this research was that awareness of the potential impact of the business sector on children’s rights in Croatia is relatively low. Only 6% of respondents believed that the businesses in which they work had a great impact on children’s rights, 48% held that their businesses affect children’s rights to a certain extent, while almost 41% of respondents considered that their businesses had no impact on children’s rights in Croatia.
In relation to products, services, and marketing:
- Two-thirds of the surveyed companies do not conduct assessments of the impact of their products and services on children.
- Over 60% of the surveyed companies do not examine the quality of products or services intended for children.
- More than half (59%) of the surveyed companies do not use codes related to children in marketing/advertising (e.g., the Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications of the Croatian Association of Communications Agencies).
In relation to employees (parents):
- Most of the surveyed companies provide flexible sick leave in order for parents or guardians to take care of a sick child (94%), enable mothers to return from maternity leave into a safe workplace (93%), and provide parental leave for fathers (93%) and free days for fathers after the birth of their child (91%).
- More than half of the respondents (60%) state that the companies in which they work do not respect the working hours framework, but 55% state that the companies in which they work provide flexible working hours.
- 64% of the surveyed companies do not have financial support schemes for their employees’ children in the event of sickness or compensation for children with developmental difficulties.
In relation to children in the community (supporting children’s rights):
- 80% of the surveyed companies are willing to help children in the event of sudden disasters.
- 47% of businesses participate in supporting local community development programmes.
- Around 66% participate in the provision of financial support for the most vulnerable families through philanthropic activities (donations), 55% invest in initiatives for early child development, 42% invest in support for children with disabilities, and 11% conduct or support actions aimed at promoting the socialization of Roma children.
Members of the Advisory Body include organisations engaged as active advocates of corporate social responsibility in Croatia (the Croatian Employers’ Association, the Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Croatian Chamber of Economy), the academic sector (the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Zagreb), the business sector (Zagreb Stock Exchange, IKEA, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, the Croatian Banking Association, the Communications Office Colić, Laco & Partners, Tele2, A1, the Croatian Association of Communications Agencies, the Institute “Working Mother”), members of the Network of Young Advisors of the Ombudsperson for Children, and the UNICEF Office in Croatia.
The following persons spoke at the conference about these important topics: Renata Margaretić Urlić, delegate of the President of the Republic of Croatia and advisor to the President of the Republic of Croatia for social activities and youth, Margareta Mađerić, delegate of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia and state secretary with the Ministry of Demographics, Family, Youth and Social Policy, Majda Burić, state secretary, Ministry of Labour and Pension System, Regina M. Castillo, head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, Davor Majetić, director-in-chief of the Croatian Employers’ Association, Stela Tonner, member of the Network of Young Advisors of the Ombudsperson for Children, Ivana Gažić, president of the Management Board of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, Prof. Mislav Ante Omazić, DSc, full professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Zagreb, and Viktor Pavlinić, chairman of the Management Board of Tele2 Hrvatska.
A special guest at the conference was Ishmael Beah, UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador and an internationally acclaimed author of the bestseller A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. This former boy soldier from Sierra Leone has an incredible life story, which he shared with those attending the conference in what was an inspiring speech.
Link to the brochure – Utjecaj poslovng sektora na dječja prava u Hrvatskoj (Impact of the Business Sector on Children’s Rights in Croatia)
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.