Stockholm (NordSIP) – As the promise of the world of tomorrow, children are key stakeholders of the future. Investments cannot be sustainable if they do not address their impact on Children. However, although children account for nearly one-third of the world’s population, their rights is often not addressed specifically in the context of ESG investing. The issue also tends to fit at the intersection of human rights and emerging markets, a crossroads famous for its increased level of uncertainty. To aid investors in this quest, UNICEF published a tool for investors on integrating children’s rights into ESG assessments, on March 12th.
“Children are among the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society and can be disproportionately and permanently impacted by business activities, operations, and relationships,” said Anita Dorett, Director for the Investor Alliance for Human Rights. ”Investors should use their leverage to ensure that the companies they invest in categorically commit to respecting children’s rights in their own operations and through business relationships by conducting human rights due diligence to identify and address any actual or potential adverse impacts on children,” said Anita Dorett, Director, Investor Alliance for Human Rights.
“Children are both the present and the future, and business practices cannot be sustainable if they do not account for their impact on children. We’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has hit children hard with disruptions to key services. The future of an entire generation is at risk. We urge investors to seize the unprecedented opportunity to reshape and reimagine a world for children and champion transformative change”, said Carla Haddad Madini, Director of UNICEF’s Division for Private Fundraising and Partnerships.
UNICEF’s tool seeks to practically highlight the implications of integrating children’s rights beyond child labour into investment decision-making. It contains guidance on assessing the materiality of children’s rights, an assessment framework consisting of scoring methodology and child rights due diligence indicators, and a chapter on data sources. It is designed to be flexible and practical to allow investors to integrate children’s rights into their own ESG assessment frameworks, but can also be used to conduct a stand-alone assessment on children’s rights.
“Child rights and the protection of children are now more important than ever. The UNICEF tool is an excellent first step in assessing the impacts and risks of children in a wide variety of sectors and identifying key practices that can minimize risks and create a positive impact for children worldwide,” said Caroline Le Meaux, Head of ESG Research, Engagement, and Voting, Amundi Asset Management.
This latest report follows the 2019 “Guidance for Investors on integrating Children’s Rights into Investment Decision Making” report co-authored by UNICEF and Sustainalytics. It was developed through a series of consultations with investors, asset managers, ESG research providers and organizations with expertise in responsible business.
The Tool for Investors on Integrating Children’s Rights into ESG Analysis offers guidance and a methodology for assessing children’s rights in portfolio companies but can also be used as a basis for engaging investee companies around their policies, practices and child rights disclosure.