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Children's Rights

Children are one-third of the world’s population, and, as consumers and workers, significantly contribute to the world economy. Yet they are also “among the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society and can be disproportionately and permanently impacted by business activities, operations, and relationships.” 

To date, recognition of business responsibility towards children has been focused on preventing or eliminating child labor, with significant work done on the ILO international frameworks - the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182)

However, adverse business impacts on children’s rights go beyond child labor concerns for example through environmental impacts, where business practices affect the rights to health, food, and water of local communities, often disproportionately impacting children. The digital ecosystem has significant adverse impacts on children's rights - such as data privacy concerns, the rise in online predators targeting children, and AI's contentious role in shaping children's emotional development. The Investor Alliance's salient issue briefing on child rights in the tech sector highlights key risks to children inherent to digital technology, and the expectations of investors and technology companies to address these risks. 

Investors should use their leverage to ensure portfolio companies' commitment to respecting children’s rights, in their operations and business relationships; identify, assess, and address any potential or actual adverse impacts on children; report on how they are addressed; and provide children-friendly and accessible grievance mechanisms.

Featured Resources:

The Investor Alliance works with its ally UNICEF on this issue, which offers valuable resources for investors.  Some important resources include UNICEF's Children's Rights and Business Principles; Children's Rights in Sustainability Reporting; Engaging with Stakeholders on Children's Rights: A Tool for Companies; and Guidance on Tools for Investors on Integrating Children's Rights into ESG Assessment

For our corporate responsibility to respect (CR2R) webinar series, please see this video log prepared by UNICEF, which seeks to integrate children's rights into human rights impact assessments, and the Investor Alliance's salient issue briefing on child rights in the tech sector.