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 the responsibility of business towards children has often focused on preventing or eliminating child labor. However, adverse impacts of business on children’s rights also include marketing (e.g. unethical marketing practices of unhealthy food and beverages to children), distribution of products (e.g. unsafe products that have not been properly tested), or in the community, for example, when security personnel does not consider children’s rights when protecting company assets, or through environmental affecting the rights to health, food and water of local communities, disproportionately impacting children.
As a result, investors should use their leverage to ensure that companies they invest in commit to respecting children’s rights in their own operations and through business relationships; identify, assess and address any actual or potential adverse impacts on children, and report on how these are addressed; as well as provide access to grievance mechanisms that are accessible to children.
- Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP), UN Global Compact, UNICEF and Save the Children, 2012.
- Children’s Rights in Sustainability Reporting: A guide for integrating children’s rights into the GRI reporting framework, UNICEF, 2013.
- Engaging with Stakeholders on Children's Rights: A Tool for Companies, UNICEF, 2014.
- Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182), International Labour Organization (ILO).