Investor Guidance on Integrating Children’s Rights into Investment Decision Making
Sustainalytics in collaboration with UNICEF, The United Nations Children’s Fund, has published a new report titled, Investor Guidance on Integrating Children’s Rights into Investment Decision-Making. The guidance offers investors a practical toolkit on how to incorporate children’s rights into investment analysis and engagement activities.
To learn more about the steps investors can take to incorporate children’s rights into their policies, decision-making and engagement practices, please watch the replay of our webinar with UNICEF and Achmea Investments.
Excerpt from the report
Investors can play a potentially immense role in shaping and influencing corporate actions related to children’s rights. In an investor landscape of proliferating human rights and sustainability initiatives, however, children have little prominence on the agenda. Apart from their concern regarding child labour, investors’ attention to children’s rights issues remains low; GES  surveys conducted in cooperation with the Global Child Forum indicate limited integration of children’s rights into investment processes. While few would admit to knowingly neglecting this stakeholder group, investors’ human rights policies and other due diligence rarely reflect the special considerations surrounding children. Indeed, the status quo approach may not sufficiently identify, let alone mitigate, the related business risks to children, and the failure to manage such risks or to identify child-related opportunities can have material consequences for companies and investments alike.
The benefits associated with incorporating children’s rights into business strategy and processes are numerous. For instance, products and services that better meet parents’ and children’s needs can open new markets for companies, such as digital technology that allows children living in remote areas of the world to access educational content and digital tools. Moreover, the promotion of youth employment programmes, apprenticeships and scholarships can help secure a skilled workforce and contribute positively towards corporate reputational capital. From a risk perspective, corporate actions that undermine children’s rights are – by definition – unsustainable, posing a range of legal, operational and reputational risks. This issue is further discussed in the following section on key child rights risks and impacts.
Accordingly, investors should consider the advantages of integrating children’s rights into investment decision making. Universal ownership, responsible investment, fiduciary duties and longtermism are all inherently linked to ensuring that investors are mindful of the impacts and risks related to children. Likewise, international norms and guidelines, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), clearly expect children’s rights to be respected and supported to at least the same extent as those of adults.
Owing to a growing interest in advancing this issue and building on the need to establish the business case, UNICEF and Sustainalytics have developed this Guidance to help investors to better take into account children’s rights in investment policies, processes and decision making. This document is based on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, launched by UNICEF, United Nations Global Compact and Save the Children in 2012, and on GES’ Investor Guidance for Children’s Rights Integration issued in 2016, and is intended to serve as a practical reference and checklist for investors to use in their daily operations.
 GES was acquired by Sustainalytics on 2 January 2019.
 Global Child Forum and GES International, Investor Insights on Children’s Rights, March 2018, accessed 3 June 2019.
 See United Nations Global Compact, Human Rights & Labour: Children’s Rights and Business Principles, The Business Case for Children’s Rights, and United Nations Children’s Fund Thailand/Sasin Center for Sustainability Management, The Business Case for Supporting Education for Disadvantaged Children in Thailand’, Working Paper, UNICEF/Sasin, both accessed 3 June 2019.
 See more examples in United Nations Children’s Fund, The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World, UNICEF, New York, January 2018, pp. 14-16, accessed 3 June 2019.
 United Nations Children’s Fund, Children’s Rights and Business Principles, accessed 3 June 2019.
 Sustainalytics, Investor Guidance for Children’s Rights Integration, GES, June 2016, accessed 3 June 2019.