‘Children’s rights in sustainability reporting’ tool

Author: UNICEF
Category: General measures of implementation

27th May 2014

This is the exciting second edition of a tool intended to help companies report and communicate on how they are respecting and supporting children's rights.

The tool is aligned with the other UNICEF tools for corporate social responsibility and provides guidance notes for each of the Children's Rights and Business Principles, including examples of what to report on. It highlights relevant Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) disclosures, with annotations in italics that describe how the GRI disclosures might be extended to integrate children's rights into sustainability measuring and reporting.

Thankfully there is a growing global consensus that business has a responsibility to respect human rights, and tools and insights developed by UNICEF, the UN Guiding Principles and GRI can all help protect children and transform businesses.

Evidence that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are taking hold can be seen in a number of promising initiatives. The updated Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for example, now include a specific chapter on human rights that draws on the Guiding Principles.

UNICEF's work to provide guidance for businesses that wish to report on how their practices respect and support children's rights should be applauded. Another very positive development is the creation of the Children's Rights and Business Principles, which provide a child rights perspective on the global standard on business and human rights established by the UN Guiding Principles.

GRI provides the most widely used global sustainability standard that enables companies to track and publicly disclose their sustainability impacts and performance, including on human rights issues - information that is increasingly of interest to investors, consumers, employees and other stakeholders. Reporting and disclosure on children's rights-related issues (beyond child labour) is significantly underdeveloped. This UNICEF publication will help businesses better understand how different disclosures and indicators in the GRI G3.1 and G4 Guidelines might be extended to integrate children's rights into sustainability measuring and reporting.