New UNICEF, NBIM guidance to help businesses prioritize child rights in global supply chains

As the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens livelihoods across the globe, newly released guidance supports companies to improve their impact on children in the garment and footwear supply chain

09 June 2020
26-year-old Jamal, pictured with his 30-month-old daughter, Jui, works at a garment factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh.
UNICEF/UN0292118/Sokol
26-year-old Jamal, pictured with his 30-month-old daughter Jui, and wife Shumi, works at a garment factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh.

GENEVA, 10 June 2020 – A new guidance released today by UNICEF and Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) will help clothing and footwear companies better address children’s rights in their global supply chains.

Released ahead of World Day Against Child Labour, the guidance tool is the result of a partnership between UNICEF and NBIM, which manages the assets of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global. It involved leading apparel and footwear companies including Adidas, H&M and VF Corporation.

“As the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic threaten the livelihoods of millions of workers in global supply chains, children’s rights must be at the heart of business action,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka. “We have an opportunity to re-imagine the post-COVID world and build a better garment and footwear sector that supports the right of every child.”

The guidance tool provides practical steps for companies to embed children’s rights in their sustainability strategies and approaches. It calls on companies to gather evidence on how children are impacted; identify bottlenecks; and take proactive steps to integrate children’s rights into their supply chain management systems. It also includes specific metrics, which support the measurement of and reporting on children’s rights outcomes over time.

More specifically, the guidance calls on companies to:

  • Assess child rights risks and business preparedness to address them;
  • Integrate child rights into policies and management systems;
  • Get internal buy-in and engage key decision-makers;
  • Strengthen supplier capacity to address child rights and root causes;
  • Monitor and measure outcomes and progress;
  • Engage stakeholders, workers and implement grievance processes;
  • Report on outcomes and progress;
  • Collaborate and invest in multi-stakeholder initiatives;
  • Support governments and advocate for children’s rights.

“At Norges Bank Investment Management, we see respect for children’s rights as an inherent part of good business practice and risk management” said NBIM Chief Corporate Governance Officer Carine Smith Ihenacho. “Children must be at the heart of companies’ sustainability efforts as they are among the most vulnerable members of society and the basis for future prosperity. It is our hope that the guidance tool and our partnership with UNICEF will contribute to improved market practices and greater respect for children’s rights across the sector.”


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Notes to editors:

The guidance is accompanied by a summary report that outlines activities led by UNICEF and NBIM since 2017 to encourage responsible business practices for children in the garment and footwear sector. The report identifies root causes that lead to negative consequences for children and opportunities for action – highlighting the critical role of governments, businesses and financial investors.

 

Media Contacts

Sohini Roychowdhury
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Geneva
Tel: +4179 533 5264

Multimedia content

26-year-old Jamal Hossain is a cutter at the Northern Tosrifa Group garment factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh
Jamal is a cutter at the Northern Tosrifa Group garment factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh

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