Children's Rights and Business Principles
The Principles provide a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing the impact of business on the rights and well-being of children.
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Business, children and sustainable development
Children make up almost a third of the world’s population and interplay with business as consumers, employees’ family members and workers. They are a unique stakeholder group in local communities as well as in the society at large: children have specific vulnerabilities and needs, and in some cases, business activities that have no negative impact on adults may be very harmful to children’s rights and well-being.
Addressing these impacts offers enormous potential to improve the rights of children and to protect them from harm through the way in which business treats its employees, operates its facilities, develops and markets its products, provides its services, and exerts its influence on economic and social development.
Despite the growth and stronger focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies especially in the wake of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, children are rarely considered as distinct stakeholders and rights holders by business. However, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, business must become fit for children.
How UNICEF supports better business for children
UNICEF’s Better Business for Children framework builds on existing work with business, industry platforms and governments to achieve respect for children's rights across business operations and supply chains.
UNICEF engages business on its impact on children across four major sub-themes. They capture key aspects of business operations – global supply chains and workplaces, marketing and advertising, the power of finance and the impact of digital. Cutting across all of them is the powerful role that businesses can play as advocates for children's rights. Across these workstreams and different industries (extractive sector, ICT, travel & tourism, sports, etc.), and with a focus on the links to programmatic result areas, UNICEF generates expertise and evidence of impacts on children by business activities and provides a wealth of resources, guidance and tools for companies, governments and other business stakeholders on how to develop and implement policies and practices that consider children's rights.
As businesses shift towards an approach that also focus on societal value as part of their core business models, UNICEF seeks new opportunities to partner with the private sector and to identify areas of common interest and innovative win-win situations for children and businesses.
Resources for business
WASH4WORK Baseline and Monitoring Indicators. Guide providing a framework to assess and monitor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in workplace and community settings.
Children's Rights Metrics in Supply Chain Monitoring and Reporting. Preliminary findings from research into the use of metrics relevant to children’s rights in corporate monitoring and reporting on responsible sourcing.
Children's Rights in Cocoa-Growing Communities of Cote d'Ivoire. Synthesis Report. Study promoting a holistic view of children’s rights and the root causes of child labour.
Children and Digital Marketing. Industry Toolkit. Concrete advice for companies committed to considering the experience of children along the digital marketing value chain.
The Children's Rights and Business Atlas: A digital tool enabling businesses to assess their footprint on children's rights.
The Guardian Sustainability Hub:
Children's Rights and Business