Ten ways for Canadian businesses to better support children’s rights

In celebration of Human Rights Day, UNICEF Canada and Global Compact Network Canada have launched the first ever Child Rights and Business Assessment to help Canadian businesses assess their impact on children’s wellbeing.

The tool provides ten recommendations for Canadian companies to become champions for children, and includes examples of how leading Canadian companies are currently reporting on their efforts to address children’s rights.

Children around the world are impacted by company policies, products, operations, sourcing activities and advertising. Yet beyond child labour and philanthropic corporate social responsibility, the broader impacts of business on children are often overlooked.

‘Child rights are..core business for all’

“Children’s rights must be at the heart of business action,” said Rowena Pinto, Chief Program Officer at UNICEF Canada. “We are thrilled that Canadian businesses from across a wide variety of sectors are increasingly recognising the critical role they can play in building a better corporate environment that supports the right of every child, both at home and abroad. Respecting and advancing children’s rights is not just good for children—it’s good for business.”

With the launch of the report, UNICEF Canada and Global Compact Network Canada – in collaboration with a group of Canadian companies including the Bank of Montreal, Intact Financial Corporation and the Lundin Foundation—aim to guide Canadian businesses on how to integrate children’s considerations into their responsible business conduct.

Michael Torrance, Chief Sustainability Officer, BMO Financial Group, said: “We are proud to work with UNICEF Canada and Global Compact Network Canada to inform and inspire Canadian businesses to address and promote child rights and well-being. We hope that this will help Canada to reach a tipping point where child rights integration will transform from being a niche issue for pioneering companies to being core business for all.”

The Canada Child Rights and Business Assessment provides a series of recommendations on how businesses can address child rights, in areas including:

  • Contributing to the elimination of child labour;
  • Ensuring the protection and safety of children;
  • Providing decent work for young workers, parents and caregivers;
  • Respecting child rights in relation to the environment and land use;
  • Using marketing and advertising that respect and support child rights;
  • Respecting and Support Child Rights in Security Arrangements.

‘We hope this helps Canada reach a tipping point’

The report surveys public references to child rights issues in the annual and sustainability reporting of leading Canadian companies on the S&P/TSX 60 Index, a stock market index of 60 large companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It then guides companies on which indicators to align their public reporting on child rights with, as part of three key frameworks – the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-being.

Ayman Chowdhury, Head of Secretariat at Global Compact Network Canada, said: “The Canada Child Rights and Business Assessment has strengthened Global Compact Network Canada’s mission in supporting companies to do business responsibly by aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals. These cannot be achieved without making inclusive economic, social and environmental progress for children.”

Source: NewsWire Canada

Author: Simon Weedy

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