BIG BUSINESS CALLED OUT FOR LACK OF CONSIDERATION OF THEIR IMPACTS ON CHILDREN
A new report released today shows there is an overwhelming lack of attention being given by Australian companies on the impacts their business has on children, with less than 1% having a specific commitment to respecting children’s rights further than just child labour.
The report, undertaken in late 2021 by Ethical Partners Funds Management in collaboration with UNICEF Australia, is the result of a benchmarking exercise across ASX 200 companies using UNICEF’s global standards tool ‘Investor Guidance on Integrating Children’s Rights into Investment Decision Making’ – used to examine the way businesses impact children.
“It is very clear that the need for corporate and investor attention to the impacts of business on children and their rights have never been more urgent. It is also very clear from our research that ASX listed companies across the board have a real opportunity to improve their polices, practices and disclosures in this area.
We therefore hope that the release of this report will provide even more impetus for fruitful engagements between Australian investors and companies, on how companies and investors alike can more broadly and deeply consider, asses and disclose the impact of their business or their portfolios on children”. Said Robyn Parkin, Head of Sustainability at Ethical Partners
“Every company interacts with children in some way: as consumers, as employers of their parents and caregivers, and through the way their operations affect society and the environment. They are the next generation of consumers, yet when it comes to promoting actions to protect and enhance their safety, health, development and wellbeing, the report shows that there is a long way to go,” said UNICEF Australia CEO, Tony Stuart.
Key findings from the report include:
• 81% of companies publicly disclose a zero-tolerance policy to child labour.
• Less than 1% of companies have a specific commitment to respecting children’s rights further than child labour.
• Only 2% of companies disclosed that they identify children as a stakeholder group and engage directly with them.
• Just 2% of companies disclosed that they have some sort of child safeguarding mechanism or policy
• 57% of companies benchmarked disclosed that they have a philanthropic commitment that supports child rights-based organisations.
Ethical Partners are pleased to see Australia take the next steps to implement mandatory climate reporting with the release of draft climate standards, which we provided feedback on.
Ethical Partners have continuously called for the provision of high quality, comparable data on company’s climate governance and carbon metrics, which we believe is imperative for investors to fulfil the potential of responsible investment.
Ethical Partners have been proud to have been active supporters of the TNFD Forum over the past few years, and to provide regular feedback on the development of the official TNFD recommendations, which were launched in December, as well as to be active members of the RIAA Natural Capital Working Group.