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Article

24 Aug 2022

Author:
Unicef

Unicef releases new guidance on responsible business practice and ending child labour

"Child Labour and Responsible Business Conduct. A Guidance Note for Action" 15 June 2022

Child labour risks have increased markedly due to the pandemic. While many businesses have responded with mitigation measures to ensure business continuity and protect workers, the crisis has thrown into sharp relief shortcomings in prevailing business responses to child labour. [...]

In short, evidence shows that businesses rarely address child labour holistically through the different pathways in which they may cause, or contribute to, child rights deprivations. [...]

[The report] recognises that where children are not directly employed by a business, child labour may still contribute to the production of goods and services along domestic or global supply chains. [...]

This report improves on existing literature by placing particular emphasis on holistic, child rights-based approaches to tackling child labour, with responsible business conduct at their core. It is written for businesses, policy makers and other business stakeholders, outlining how the private sector can respond to child labour in more effective and sustainable ways. It highlights some of the key root causes of child labour, how businesses may exacerbate them, as well as the role of business in addressing them through responsible business practices. The report also includes deep dives into three sectors, analysing business policies and practices in specific contexts in greater detail. Based on this analysis, it offers guidance on how child labour strategies should be grounded in child rights-based approaches, focusing on prevention and integration across core business practices and strategies. Lastly, the report explores emerging mandatory human rights due diligence legislations, and the criteria these laws should include to be effective in protecting children from adverse business impact, including child labour.