UNICEF: Improving Children’s Rights In The Supply Chain

By Jack Grimshaw
UNICEF and Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) have released guidance to help companies improve their impact on children in the supply chain...

The guidance tool, which has been released ahead of the annual World Day Against Child Labour, is the result of a partnership between UNICEF and NBIM, which manages the assets of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global. Leading apparel and footwear companies, such as Adidas, H&M, and VF Corporation, have all been involved.

“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 has provided practical steps for companies to embed children’s rights in their sustainability strategies and approaches. Companies are called on to collect evidence on the impact on children, identify bottlenecks, and take proactive steps to make sure children’s rights are effectively integrated into their supply chain management systems.

Specific metrics, supporting the measurement of and reporting on children’s right outcomes over time, have also been included in the guidance.

The guidance also calls on the 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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