The State of Children's Rights and Business 2021

Global Benchmark

The State of Children's Rights and Business 2021

This Global Child Forum report “The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2021” comes at an auspicious time. Progress that we had hoped to report on since our last benchmark in 2019 is measured. However, the global backdrop of our latest report cannot be ignored – we are still haunted by the ghosts of the global pandemic, the threat of climate change looms large, inequities are breeding inequalities and those who suffer the most as a result are our children.

Amidst this ominous background, at Global Child Forum, we call on businesses to be heroes – to lift us from these doom-and-gloom scenarios into a world where children thrive and live their best lives. We know that business can accomplish this. We have seen it, scored it and measured it. We have heroes among almost all sectors analysed, with Healthcare leading the way, and the Apparel and Retail sector close behind. We have hero companies such as Wilmar International, Vodafone and Telenor. When businesses integrate a children’s rights perspective into their operations – when they see children as key stakeholders and proxy indicators of progress on sustainable development goals – promise turns into practice which turns into progress.

This year’s benchmark looks at 832 global companies – those companies considered to be the most influential in helping us reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The companies in the benchmark come from all nine sectors, represent all regions of the world and have been benchmarked on 27 indicators, each indicator clearly defined to provide an accurate overview of how companies are responding to, and reporting on, children’s rights. The benchmark, then, offers us a snapshot of the world’s largest companies, looking at the policies, processes and practices they have put in place to systematize their approach to children’s rights.

For nearly ten years, and in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, Global Child Forum has been benchmarking companies1. We do this so that we can gain insights into what works for business. We do this so that you, our global business leaders and investors, can work better and smarter to achieve your goals while simultaneously lifting society.

Over the past years, the world has rallied around the SDGs as a set of meaningful goals. We have also seen reporting initiatives, such as the GRI, raise the bar in terms of corporate transparency. Multi-lateral accords and agreements, such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the EU Social Taxonomy currently being negotiated focus our collective efforts on the ways and means of willing positive societal change into existence. Our benchmark is another instrument of change, one which works in synergy with these other initiatives while at the same time providing a unique perspective.

We know that what a company reports on is what is meaningful to them. So, the question is: are companies in fact prioritizing children’s rights among all the other issues on the sustainability agenda? Download the 10 Key Takeaways to learn more.

Benchmark scores

This table presents all the companies tracked and scored in our latest global benchmark.

Select industry:
Companies Country Workplace Marketplace Community & Environment Average score

Company score-level on children’s rights work

Beginner

The company has developed a few policies and practices that address the organization's impact on children's rights or human rights in general.

Improver

The company has developed and implemented some policies and practices that address the organization's impact on children's rights or human rights in general. The company realizes that having policies in place and/or contributing to children's rights through different initiatives is an important first step to show commitment.;

Achiever

The company has developed and implemented several policies and practices that address the organization's impact on children's rights. The company realizes that while policies are important, in order to create change those policies need to be embedded into company practice, and followed-up on through monitoring, transparent reporting and programmes to create action for children's rights.;

Leader

The company has developed and implemented several policies and practices that address the organization's impact on children's rights across several important areas. The company has taken concrete steps to move beyond policies and have embedded children's rights into company practice, following-up through monitoring, transparent reporting and programmes to create action for children's rights.;

About our benchmark

Global Child Forum, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, has been benchmarking companies since 2014. Since then, we have produced 11 regional reports covering Middle East and North AfricaSouthern AfricaSoutheast Asia, the Nordic region and South America, as well as an additional Global Benchmark report in 2019.

Our benchmarks are based on publicly available information assessed by Global Child Forum and are accompanied by insights, key take-aways and present wide-ranging recommendations for actions to raise individual company and sector scores.

About the selection of companies

In 2020, Global Child Forum joined the World Benchmarking Alliance and adopted their SDG2000 to our universe. From this list, we have selected 832 companies to be benchmarked based on revenue (2020), geographical location and sector spread. This year, Global Child Forum will have a special focus on the Technology and Telecom sector. In addition to the companies that are assessed as part of the global benchmark, an additional 132 global Technology & Telecom companies will therefore be assessed.

Updated methodology

When comparing 2019 vs 2021 scores, it is important to note that there have been significant improvements in the methodology in 2021, thus, it was essential to adjust the 2019 scores to the updated methodology to arrive at meaningful comparison. For more information about this adjustment and the changes in the methodology go to About our Benchmark. 

Disclaimer

Global Child Forum basis it’s 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 were made available to all companies for fact checking purposes, but not all companies have acknowledged this review process. Read more here

Comms toolkit

Communicate about your score

You work hard to ensure that your operations are sustainable and that you adhere to the latest reporting standards. Let your networks know! We've pulled together a communications toolkit to make it easier for you.

Communications toolkit