Global Child Forum

PRESS RELEASE: Global Child Forum at the Royal Palace in Stockholm urges companies to take action on children's rights

PRESS RELEASE

STOCKHOLM, 2 DECEMBER, 2022

On 1 December, Their Majesties The King and The Queen welcomed 150 influential international decision-makers from business, government and civil society to address some of the most pressing issues around children’s rights and the corporate sustainability agenda.

This year’s Global Child Forum focused on two sectors, the Food, Beverage & Personal Care sector and the Tech & Telecom sector, both of which share many commonalities and have the potential for an enormous positive impact on children. Both sectors have been influenced by global events which have unintended consequences on children. Yet, there are also exciting opportunities and cross-sector learnings that can be harnessed for the betterment of a company’s bottom line – and to the benefit of children.

Addressing the participants, His Majesty said: “One could argue that the Swedish December darkness is a fitting metaphor for the state of the world right now. Not least when it comes to children’s rights. However, these dark days also let us clearly see the points of light. In fact, it is at this time of the year that the North Star appears to shine most brightly! So I ask you today, what is your North Star? How can you, in your role as leaders from some of the world’s biggest companies, guide us to a better place?” Read His Majesty’s speech in full here.

The Forum, which took place at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, featured inspiring speakers including Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA; Zainab Hussain Siddiquie, VP Sustainability, Telenor Group; Jennifer L.C. Wu, Global Head of Sustainable Investing, JP Morgan Asset Management; Joséphine EwallBjörklund, Senior Vice President, Essity; David Lega, Co-Chair of the Child Rights Intergroup, European Parliament;  as well as a range of interactive working sessions, with possibilities to exchange insights on sustainability topics closely aligned with children’s wellbeing. Andreas Lundmark, Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group and Nina Vollmer, Senior Children’s Rights and Business Specialist, Global Child Forum also reviewed the results of the Tech and Telecom benchmark, launched earlier this year, as well as provided a sneak preview of the Food, Beverage and Personal Care benchmark, to be launched on December 15th.

“The business and human rights agenda has evolved significantly in recent years,” said Katarina Mellström, Global Child Forum’s Secretary General addressing the delegates. “Yet, a child rights perspective has still not yet been fully addressed. It is our mission to work towards this. No one can solve these issues alone – it takes a global village, and our Forum is the town square.”

Points mentioned during the conference addressed impacts on children in supply chains moving beyond a narrow perspective of focusing only on no child labour as well as industry-specific issues such as risks of nutrient-poor food and increased vulnerability to children on the internet.

The last-mentioned point is something that the telecommunications company Telenor, which is among those with the highest rating in its sector, is working on.

“The business case for working with children’s rights is quite obvious to us. If the children’s interests are raised, it is good for society. And when communities feel good, we feel better as a company,” says Zainab Hussain Siddiqui, vice director of sustainability at Telenor.

Zainab Hussain Siddiqui stated that the Global Child Forum has contributed by creating comparability between companies in the field. “The fact that a light is put on the gaps in the industry pushes us to close them. Then the scoring of how we perform has led to a useful competition around improving ourselves,” she says.

The event ended with Her Majesty The Queen, saying, “As you know, children worldwide are affected by business activities every day. While certain aspects of this may be alarming, we must also remember that many of those interactions are positive. Technological advances bring opportunities to children.  The consumer goods sector provide products that make lives better. And many companies are good ambassadors, offering opportunities and different kinds of support to their community. But, as the Global Child Forum benchmarks continue to show, there is still much room for improvement!” Read Her Majesty’s speech in full here.

On December 15, Global Child Forum will release its next benchmark, a deep dive into the Food, Beverage and Personal Care Sector, scoring over 300 companies on how well they report on children’s rights indicators. To view all scores and read the key takeaways, see our website here. Global Child Forum has been conducting benchmarks for over 10 years, with the support of Boston Consulting Group.

About Global Child Forum

Founded in 2009 by the Swedish Royal Family, Global Child Forum is a leading forum for children’s rights and business dedicated to innovative thinking, knowledge-sharing and networking. Global Child Forum believes in the power and responsibility of business, working in partnership with all parts of society, to create a prosperous, sustainable and just society for the world’s children.

In addition to forums, Global Child Forum delivers research perspectives, best practices and risk assessment tools designed to unlock opportunities for business to integrate children’s rights into their operations and communities.  For more information, please visit: www.globalchildforum.org

For further information, please contact:

Linda Ravin Lodding
Head of Communications
Global Child Forum
linda.lodding@globalchildforum.org
mobile: +46 72 387 0248

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