‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’, The Code, and your company

Understanding the ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’

(This article is also available in Thai language)

The ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’ were developed by UNICEF, The United Nations Global Compact, and Save the Children, and center around protecting children and children’s rights.

The 10 core principles range in topic from child labor, to marketing that respects and supports children’s rights, to protection for children from abuse, exploitation, and harm within business practices. Businesses are first and foremost encouraged to meet their responsibility to respect children’s rights; beyond that, however, the principles ask businesses to go one step further and actively work to support those rights.[1]

Designed to be implemented by any business regardless of sector, these principles are ideally suited to be integrated into an existing corporate social responsibility (CSR) or code of conduct. If such a code doesn’t exist, they can easily stand alone.

A strong ethical Code of Conduct can improve your bottom line

Recently, countless studies[2] all point to the fact that incorporating these types of ethical commitments into the corporate culture is not only good for society and public image, but is also good for business performance. Companies which demonstrate strong ethical standards have historically outperformed similar companies lacking those same standards.[3]

Another study indicates that a strong code of conduct and corporate social responsibility can help to recruit and maintain a motivated workforce.[4] Another still notes that 77% of consumers believe it is important for a company to be a socially responsible and a good corporate citizen.[5]

Ethical companies enjoy increased customer loyalty and can be more effective at attracting new customers. On the other hand, businesses found to have negligent practices may suffer from poor public image, higher employee turnover, and decreased customer loyalty.

For any business, the development of a code of conduct or CSR initiative acknowledging the Children’s Rights and Business Principles would certainly have a positive impact on the “triple bottom line”- people, planet, and profit. This updated view of the bottom line, taking into account more than just profit as a main concern, is becoming increasingly common among businesses across the globe.

Efforts to integrate respect and support for children’s rights into core strategies and operations can serve to improve risk management, build reputation, and help secure the ‘social license to operate’[6].

At your next meeting why not consider how your business can incorporate child protection policies into your work

Corporate Social Responsibility in tourism

To be sure, the tourism industry is in no way responsible for commercial sexual exploitation of children. Some individuals, however, may take advantage of their position as a tourist and the facilities provided by the industry to engage in these heinous acts.

The ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’ stresses that businesses, in their activities and relationships (including workplace, marketplace, community, and environment), should work to prevent these crimes. “Where a business is linked to an adverse impact by a business relationship, it should use its leverage… [I]n determining the appropriate action to take.”[7]

Join The Code and become an industry leader

As one of the leading NGOs in child protection, The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism offers tools that can be used to address sexual exploitation against children taking place in travel and tourism operations. Not only do companies that join the code demonstrate their commitment to providing ethical services within the tourism industry, but they also take direct action in adhering to the ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’.

A global travel company and member of The Code was lauded in the ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’ declaration for their commitment to protecting children. This company was singled out for its best practice, having taken concrete steps to “combat and raise awareness about sexual exploitation and child trafficking.”[8]

The Code requires that members adopt its six criteria[9] and build them into their corporate structures upon joining. These points are clearly defined and developed in such a way as to be applicable to any branch of the tourism industry, from travel to hospitality and everything in between.

Joining The Code and implementing the six criteria helps to improve an existing code of conduct or CSR initiative, which in turn will help with employee retention and recruitment. It demonstrates the commitment to social responsibility that attracts customers and retains their loyalties. Most importantly, it protects children and it’s the right thing to do.

Learn more about The Code and join today

Read more about the ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles‘ 

Written by Taylor Hannegan


[1] UNICEF, Save the Children, & United Nations Global Compact. (2012). Children’s Rights and Business Principles. UNICEF.

[2] Studies ranging from The Institute of Business Ethics, Kelly Services Survey statistics (~100,000 people in 34 countries, Sirota survey 2007, Edelman Trust Barometer, Co-Op consumer research. Found at http://www.isbe.org.uk/EthicsFactsandFigures

[3] Ethical Enterprise- Some Facts and Figures | ISBE. (n.d.). ISBE. Retrieved August 26, 2013, from http://www.isbe.org.uk/EthicsFactsandFigures

[4] Meister, J. (2012, June 7). Corporate Social Responsibility: A Lever For Employee Attraction & Engagement – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved August 26, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/06/07/corporate-social-responsibility-a-lever-for-employee-attraction-engagement/

[5] Knowledge@Wharton. (2012, May 29). Why Companies Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Their Social Responsibilities TIME.com. Business & Money. Retrieved August 26, 2013, from http://business.time.com/2012/05/28/why-companies-can-no-longer-afford-to-ignore-their-social-responsibilities/

[6] Supra note 1.

[7] Ibid.

[8]  UNICEF, Save the Children, & United Nations Global Compact. (2012). Children’s Rights and Business Principles. UNICEF

[9] 1. To establish a policy and procedure against sexual exploitation of children; 2. To train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation, and how to report suspected cases; 3. To in clued a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children; 4. To provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases; 5. To support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children; 6. To report annually on their implementation of code related activities.

Scroll to Top