Companies still pay too little attention to children’s rights

2022 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. These are jointly developed with Save the ChildrenUNICEF en UN Global Compact. In a new report, we take a look back. 

The Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBPs) are the first comprehensive set of principles to guide companies on actions they can take in the workplace, the marketplace and society to respect and support children’s rights. 

The new joint report “Charting the Course: Embedding children’s rights in responsible business conduct” describes what has already been done and what needs to be done further to realize these principles.

How are we doing globally now?

A decade after the development of the CRBPs, the report analyzes how children’s rights can be better addressed in the context of corporate responsibility. CRBPs report on the past ten years says: “Shows promise, but could do better”

The report concludes that international corporate responsibility will not work for children unless their rights are taken into account from the outset (in the risk analysis and action planning) so that solutions and risk management match the situation of children. Unfortunately, companies still have a lot of negative impact on children’s rights. Think of child labour, but also environmental pollution and exposure to toxic substances that are bad for their health and development. In addition, children as ‘consumers’ can also experience bad influence through marketing and bad privacy rules.

What should Dutch companies do?

In our Dutch report we zoom in on the situation in the Netherlands. Three themes are discussed that play a role in Dutch business and have an impact on children: children’s rights in the international chain (focus on the cocoa sector), the digital online world with children as users and customers and the platform economy.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it provides an overview of important children’s rights issues on which companies (can) influence and shows that Dutch companies can also be confronted with issues surrounding children’s rights in their business operations. The purpose of these examples is a plea to the government and the business community to put children at the center of policy and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) processes.


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