New Tool Assesses Business Impacts on Children
30 November 2018 at 4:51 pm
UNICEF and The Global Child Forum have released a tool empowering business to measure their impact on children across almost 200 countries.
The Children’s Rights and Business Atlas is an online, interactive and data-driven tool that measures actual and potential business impacts on children.
Shanelle Hall, UNICEF deputy executive director of field results, said the tool would help businesses work towards achieving child-centred Sustainable Development Goals.
“We’ve designed the atlas to be used by companies to proactively manage actual and potential business impact on children by integrating children’s rights into strategic planning for positive, sustainable change,” Hall said.
“The atlas is also a key tool to foster longer-term business sustainability through improved due diligence of children’s human rights provisions.”
The atlas – presented this week at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva – was developed in alignment with rights in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the due diligence processes from the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Paula Guillet de Monthoux, the vice chairperson of the Global Child Forum, said the tool was designed to equip companies with the knowledge needed to better assess their potential impacts on children.
“The atlas will also help companies realise the significant potential they have to generate positive change and maximum benefit for children,” Guillet de Monthoux said.
It will be used in 195 countries worldwide, and measures how businesses impact children in various capacities including as workers, employees, consumers, and community members.
Alison Elliott, a senior policy advisor at UNICEF Australia, said the tool would be used differently from country to country.
In Australia for example, companies would be advised of heightened risks related to high rates of obesity, with a quarter of Australian children being overweight or obese in 2014-15.
This would have implications for companies involved in the marketing and advertising of high fat sugar salt (HFSS) products, according to Elliott.
“There is a clear need for Australian businesses to understand the risks that may exist both domestically and internationally, as well as through business partners, subsidiary companies and source countries in their global supply chains,” Elliott said.
She added that the recent inquiries into modern slavery and supply chain transparency in Australia meant many companies wanted to better understand human rights risks in their businesses.
“We know that it can be challenging for companies to identify how and where their operations can negatively impact children – because they can often be affected in indirect and unintended ways,” she said.
“The atlas will better equip companies… to assess the specific risks to children and families in countries where they operate, so they can take proactive steps to prevent and mitigate potential harm to those children, and avoid business risk at the same time.”