Investing in Child Rights: New UNICEF Guidance to Help Investors Make the Right Decision
12 April 2021
NEW YORK, 12 April 2021 – A new tool for investors on how to integrate children’s rights into Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) analysis – allowing for more comprehensive assessment of child rights as part of the due diligence process in investee companies – has been published today by UNICEF.
Children account for nearly one third of the world’s population, yet investors’ human rights policies seldom reflect the special considerations that businesses need to make to respect children’s rights. While children’s rights are part of, and often key to addressing other sustainability issues such as human rights, decent work, gender and diversity, the children’s rights dimensions are often missed without taking a specific child rights lens to sustainability.
The Tool for Investors on Integrating Children’s Rights into ESG Analysis offers guidance and a methodology for assessing children’s rights in portfolio companies but can also be used as a basis for engaging investee companies around their policies, practices and child rights disclosure. It builds on and complements the Investor Guidance on Integrating Children’s Right into Investment Decision Making released by UNICEF and Sustinalytics in 2019.
“Children are both the present and the future, and business practices cannot be sustainable if they do not account for their impact on children. We’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has hit children hard with disruptions to key services. The future of an entire generation is at risk. We urge investors to seize the unprecedented opportunity to reshape and reimagine a world for children and champion transformative change”, said Carla Haddad Madini, Director of UNICEF’s Division for Private Fundraising and Partnerships.
The tool has been launched in the run up to the 10th anniversary of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles in 2022 and to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, outlining the responsibilities of businesses, and investors, to respect human and children’s rights.
“Child rights and the protection of children are now more important than ever. The UNICEF tool is an excellent first step in assessing the impacts and risks of children in a wide variety of sectors and identifying key practices that can minimize risks and create a positive impact for children worldwide,” said Caroline Le Meaux, Head of ESG Research, Engagement, and Voting, Amundi Asset Management.
The tool was developed through a series of consultations with investors, asset managers, ESG research providers and organizations with expertise in responsible business.
"Children are among the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society and can be disproportionately and permanently impacted by business activities, operations, and relationships,” said Anita Dorett, Director for the Investor Alliance for Human Rights. ”Investors should use their leverage to ensure that the companies they invest in categorically commit to respecting children’s rights in their own operations and through business relationships by conducting human rights due diligence to identify and address any actual or potential adverse impacts on children," said Anita Dorett, Director, Investor Alliance for Human Rights.
The Tool for Investors on Integrating Children’s Rights into ESG Analysis contains guidance on assessing the materiality of children’s rights, an assessment framework consisting of scoring methodology and child rights due diligence indicators, and a chapter on data sources. It is designed to be flexible and practical to allow investors to integrate children’s rights into their own ESG assessment frameworks, but can also be used to conduct a stand-alone assessment on children’s rights.
For more information, please contact:
Sohini Roychowdhury, Communication Specialist
+ 41 79 5335264
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus. Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.
UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product or service.