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New report from ACCA calls on corporate world to lead the way in fight for children’s rights.

Date

14 Sep 2015

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs
Justice & Home Affairs
Following publication of a new report on children’s rights, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and Unicef have joined forces to call for greater transparency from companies on the issue.
 
The report, titled ‘Reporting on Children’s Rights’ provides companies with guidance on managing their impact on the rights of children. Using examples of good practice, the paper demonstrates how some companies are working to improve children’s rights around the world.
 
Commenting on the importance of ensuring children’s rights are protected, Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive said:
 
“There are few issues that can match abuse of children in its explosive power to damage a corporate brand. More importantly, the quality of reporting on the issue is a key component in supporting the rights of children across the globe. Despite this, evidence of systematic good practice from companies whose activities affect children is thin on the ground.”
 
According to Helen Brand, children’s rights will not be realised until companies take steps to deliver publicly available reporting on their policies, targets and record on the issue, as she explains:
 
“Clearly, understanding and reporting on key labour practices with a company is an important step when assessing the potential impact a business has on children’s rights. For example, if a company’s business model is highly dependent on subcontracted labour in countries such as Bangladesh, so the risk of child labour issues may be greater.
 
“Just like in any area of the business, targets and key performance indicators should be set for achieving children’s rights objectives, and the brave decision should be made to disclose these publicly. Even more importantly, companies should ensure that remediation plans are also publicly available so that it is clear to those who matter what to do if an abuse of children’s rights has taken place.”
 
Responding to the report, Leah Kreitzman, Director of Public Affairs at Unicef UK said:
 
“There is no issue that is more central to corporate sustainability than children’s rights. Children are key stakeholders of business – as consumers, family members of employees, young workers, and as future employees and business leaders. They have survival and development needs that differ from those of adults and are particularly vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse. Businesses therefore need to give children specific attention to ensure that they are managing their potential impacts upon them. Many companies are starting to do this and the huge potential of the private sector to positively impact children is starting to be realised.
 
“This new report from ACCA offers companies valuable guidance on why, how and where to report on these issues, which is a crucial component of the due diligence process. The report explores a complex area for businesses and sets out best practice in reporting on children’s rights and makes the business case for doing so.”
 
The report lays out the five key areas that companies should consider when reporting on their impact on children’s rights, namely:
  • Context and Risk
  • Policies and Governance
  • Integration and Action
  • Monitoring and Review
  • Remediation
Summarising the findings of the report, Helen Brand said:
 
“It is through a combination of all these disciplines and a commitment to transparency that companies will achieve the greatest results in the fight against abuse of children’s rights. It is our ambition that businesses commit to a framework that protects the rights of children, and in doing so, guard themselves against the risk of reputational damage that comes with human rights infringements of this kind.”
 

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