Corporate Sector & Children’s Rights Benchmark Series


What is the benchmark?

Global Child Forum and the Boston Consulting Group initiated the Corporate Sector and Children’ Rights Benchmark series in 2013 to fill a gap in research. To date, we have produced three global and six regional studies of the Nordic region, the Middle East and Northern Africa; Southern Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, covering more than 3000 companies across 9 sectors. The purpose of the series is to develop a children’s rights benchmark for the corporate sector and to enable tracking of progress over time on how children’s rights are addressed by business.

How is the sample selected?

In 2020, Global Child Forum joined the World Benchmarking Alliance and at the same time took the decision to adopt the SDG2000 as our base universe. Read more about how companies are selected for the SDG2000 list here.

2022 year’s benchmark covers 310 companies from four industries (Agriculture products, Food & Beverage, Household & Personal Care and Retail) that combined constitutes the Food, Beverage & Personal Care sector. The assessment on which companies and industries we include in the Food, Beverage & Personal Care sector are largely based on the The Refinitiv Business Classification (TRBC).

How is the study conducted?

Publicly available information in English from the selected companies (sustainability reports, etc) is being screened against a set of 25 indicators.** Each indicator has a possible score of;

0 – No information could be found;
5 – The company is reporting on human rights or sustainability for this issue;
10 – The company reports on how they address children’s rights for this issue.***

The results in our benchmark are based only on publicly available data, systematically assessing corporate organisational response to impact on children’s rights. However we don’t evaluate actual compliance with policies, nor outcomes of policies and/or programmes. The individual results are shared with each company for feedback and possible corrections to ensure a fair assessment, prior to the launch of the results.

How can business use it?

The set of indicators align clearly with the Children’s Rights and Business Principles**** and divides the indicators into the impact areas of Governance & Collaboration, Workplace, Marketplace and Community & Environment, which you can read more about further down on this page. The four impact areas do not only give a great overview of what companies are doing in each of these spheres of influence, it also gives companies an opportunity to identify areas for improvement in relation to their operations.

**Since the 2021 study the number of indicators decreased from 27 to 25

***The original methodology used until 2017 used 7 indicators with a binary answer option of yes (score 1) or no (score 0) and a total possible score of 9 (two of the questions were weighted and had a possible score of 2)

**** A comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing the impact of business on the rights and well-being of children developed by UN Global Compact, UNICEF and Save the Children.



Global Child Forum bases its benchmark scores on a company’s publicly available information, systematically assessing a corporate’s response to impacts on children’s rights. Scores are not a measure of actual company compliance with policies, outcomes of policies and/or programmes. Final scorecards have been made available to all companies for fact checking purposes, but not all companies acknowledge this review process.

About the Impact Areas


In our benchmark, impact through marketing and products or services is covered under the Marketplace Impact Area. Companies impact children’s lives in several ways in Marketplace:

Product and service safety is particularly important when products are intended for children’s and teenagers’ consumption. Moreover, even when a product or service is not explicitly intended for children, there is the possibility of children coming into contact with it. So it follows that children should be considered from a perspective of protecting them.

Responsible marketing is important for children and young people as the recipients of marketing messages. Companies need to recognise and act on children’s specific vulnerabilities, putting into practice, for example, restrictions on when and to whom to market. In addition, even if unintentionally, children and teenagers are constantly exposed to marketing messages meant for adults, especially online. Here, companies need to consider whether they are, for example, propagating unhealthy ideals or lifestyles or considering how children and young people are portrayed in marketing to adults. Consideration should be given to determining whether a child or a young person is equipped to contextualize these messages and understand them properly.

Products and services that support children are an often overlooked area where companies can have a significant and positive impact on children’s and teenagers’ lives by ensuring that they have access to products and services that take their needs into consideration.

With positive messaging, companies have the opportunity to not only prevent harm by practicing responsible marketing but to also create positive impact. In the arena of mental health and self-esteem, for example, a company could make use of their communication platforms to reach a young audience.


In our benchmark, impact through operations and supply chains, specifically in relation to employment, is covered under the Workplace Impact Area. In this area, companies impact children’s lives in several ways:

Child labour and decent work for young workers. Child labour, often the first topic that comes to mind when considering how children’s rights are relevant to the corporate sector, requires companies to take appropriate measures to assess risks, prohibit, prevent, report on findings and provide remediation. Ensuring decent working conditions and appropriate job opportunities for young people is another key element.

Family-friendly policies and programmes are of great relevance to children’s daily lives. Family-friendly efforts by companies impact the time that children can spend with their parents (for example, through parental leave that exceeds what is legally required, availability of flexible work arrangements) and ensuring that children are looked after when parents are at work.

Governance and Collaborations

New to our benchmark methodology 2022 is a focus on how successfully companies integrate children’s rights into their governance mechanisms. This new area, called Governance & Collaborations, gathers indicators that were previously included in the other three impact areas (Workplace, Marketplace and Community & Environment) and centres on:

A company’s governance establishes the foundation for how a company views and acts with respect to its impact on children’s lives across all issues. Maintaining a clear commitment and having directives emanating from top management determines how important an issue is perceived to be across operations.

Collaboration is key to addressing many of the areas where business impacts children’s lives. Often these issues are systemic, so a single actor has limited or no ability to solve an issue or have an impact operating individually. It is therefore essential to seek out and consult with experts, such as children’s rights organisations, to ensure that any initiative undertaken is in accord with best practice and does not result in unintended negative consequences.

Community & Environment

In our benchmark, impact through operations and supply chains, specifically in relation to more indirect impact, is covered under the Community & Environment Impact Area. Here, companies impact children’s lives in several ways:

Environmental impact is major for this sector due to its intensive use of land, chemicals and water, as well as through energy consumption and packaging. Overall, research is clear that negative environmental impacts have a disproportionate effect on children compared to adults. This is true both when considering the present day – take, for example, pollution, water, and land use, where children are particularly vulnerable – and the future, through long-term impacts such as CO2 emissions, lack of circularity and unsustainable use of natural resources. It has also been shown that climate change has a more immediate effect on children, negatively impacting their physical health and mental well-being.

Social impact is particularly far reaching with regard to children, for example, in access to healthcare, education, and social protection. These issues are primarily the responsibility of the public sector. Still, business has an essential role, both in environments where state protection is weak and in cases where companies want to contribute to (pay back) society by, for example, supporting children’s access to quality education, healthcare, or a sustainable living environment.

About the Corporate Response Maturity Ladder

To assess the degree to which a child rights issue has been addressed and integrated in a meaningful way by a company, the benchmark indicators are grouped into three maturity steps:

Policies & Commitments

The first indicator of whether a company has truly integrated a children’s rights perspective is whether the company addresses children’s rights issues through a policy or an explicit commitment in their publicly available documents. Commitments can cover different aspects of children’s rights across the areas of the Workplace, Marketplace, and Community & Environment, and might include child labour, responsible marketing to children, product safety or a commitment to contribute in a positive way to children in the local community.


The next level of integration of a children’s rights perspective is the extent to which these policies have been integrated into an organisation’s processes. For instance, is the board ultimately accountable? Does it receive regular updates about developments on these issues? Are children’s rights issues included in materiality analyses? Does the company conduct supplier assessments? In addition, are there grievance mechanisms in place that allow both internal and external actors to report on cases of misconduct in relation to children’s rights issues?

Reporting & Actions

While policies and commitments are important to establish where a company stands on issues, such statements mean little if there is no periodic review, follow-up, and impact evaluation. To accomplish this, it’s essential that companies report on results (both positive and negative). In addition, companies need to address their impacts, mitigate those that are negative, and contribute to positive development.

Contact us

Nina Vollmer

Senior Children´s Rights and Business Specialist

As Global Child Forum's Children´s Rights and Business Specialist, Nina’s main area of responsibility is to lead and develop the work on the Corporate Benchmark Studies on children’s rights that Global Child Forum produces in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group. In addition to this work, she also takes on other research projects and works on developing the content/inviting speakers for Forums and events. She has previously worked at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, the Swedish Teacher’s Union, the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation – SweFOR in Colombia and SonyEricsson. She has also held the voluntary position of group secretary for Amnesty Business Group Sweden and been a member of the Board of Directors at Amnesty Sweden. She has a Master’s Degree in Political Science with a focus on human rights and development from Lund University in Sweden. Nina joined Global Child Forum in 2015.

Rebecca De Geer

Benchmark Manager

Rebecca works as a Benchmark Manager at Global Child Forum. Rebecca holds a first-degree MSc in International Development from the University of Bristol (United Kingdom) and a BA in International Relations from the University of Exeter (United Kingdom). Her previous professional experiences include undertaking a traineeship at the Swedish representation to the United Nations in Vienna where she covered the work of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Rebecca has also worked with communications and has previous experience organising international conferences covering global issues in several European countries.