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Social and Ethics Committees to consider childrens rights

Your stakeholders include young people

The under 18s represent almost one third of the world’s population and often face severe difficulties. More than one billion children are deprived of one or more services essential to survival and development and more than 100 million children do not attend primary school.

Corporate consideration for children by business, today, generally takes a risk management approach.

This approach has to been to address single issues such as ensuring there is no child labour in their supply chain. But businesses rarely seek to tackle the root causes.

South African businesses now have the opportunity to take a more proactive approach in

securing their  social license to operate


Today the directives are in place

Since 1 March 2010, with the adoption of King III, ALL South African entities are tasked to consider ALL Stakeholders and Sustainability in their decision making.


In addition, the New Companies Act states that large companies and State Owned Entities MUST have a Social & Ethics Committee in place by 1 May 2012. The statutory duties of these committees include:

¤  UN Global Compact, OECD requirements and the ILO Protocol

¤  The BBBEE Act,  The Employment Equity Act and  The Consumer Protection Act

With the release of The 10 Children’s Rights and Business Principles, for those entities required to constitute Social & Ethics Committees, these committees can facilitate the incorporation of these principles in the entity’s daily operations.


Apply the principles

The Children’s Rights and Business Principles is a joint initiative of UNICEF, Save the Children and the United Nations Global Compact.

While reinforcing standards and actions necessary to prevent and eliminate child labour, the Children’s Rights and Business Principles also highlight the diversity of ways in which business affects children Bo Viktor Nylund, senior advisor for corporate social responsibility at Unicef

This includes the overall business operations, such as:

  • products and services,
  • marketing methods, and
  • distribution practices.


The Childrens Rights and Business Principles

All business should:

1. Meet their responsibility to respect children’s rights and commit to supporting the human rights of children

2. Contribute to the elimination of child labour, including in all business activities and business relationships

3. Provide decent work for young workers, parents and caregivers

4.  Ensure the protection and safety of children in all business activities and facilities

5.  Ensure that products and services are safe, and seek to support children’s rights through them

6. Use marketing and advertising that respect and support children’s rights

7.  Respect and support children’s rights in relation to the environment and to land acquisition and use

8.  Respect and support children’s rights in security arrangements

9.  Help protect children affected by emergencies

10.  Reinforce community and government efforts to protect and fulfil children’s rights


Make it easy to apply these principles:

Contact Candor





This blog is based on information from Guardian Professional

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