by Tytti Kaasinen, Senior Engagement Manager at GES
Last November, I wrote about GES’ work on children’s rights and how we would like to see increased awareness and integration of related issues also in the broader investment community. Having established through our surveys in cooperation with Global Child Forum that there were relatively few investors who were actively considering children’s rights as part of their ownership processes, but many more who agreed that this can be an area of material importance, the potential for progress was obvious to us. It was also clear that there was a need for investor-relevant guidance on children’s rights integration and that existing material and guidance was insufficient. GES therefore decided to address this gap with the aim to provide investors with practical and actionable recommendations.
Fast forward a few months, and I am pleased to announce that GES’ Investor Guidance for Children’s Rights Integration has seen the light of day. We want this document to help investors start adding children’s rights considerations into their analysis and processes, or to give additional ideas to those that are already on their way. The focus of the guidance document is therefore more on integration rather than introducing a whole new layer of work or a separate analysis, which I suspect would perhaps not be as productive. Indeed, the guidelines are intended for investors to pick ideas and questions from, depending on what suits their processes and what’s appropriate for the company they are looking at or talking to at the time. Our priority was to keep the guidance concise and hands-on, and we hope that investors find it relevant and easy to put into practice.
GES launched this tool during a webinar earlier in mid-June, with our excellent guest speaker Reed Montague from Calvert contributing with plenty of concrete examples of how she and her colleagues have integrated children’s rights into their shareholder actions. I was delighted with the high turnout and the attendees’ active participation in the discussion, which appeared to confirm that there really is great interest in advancing this issue. The next opportunity to hear about the guidance is on 6 July during the Almedalen week in Visby, Sweden, where I will be joining the panel at Save the Children’s event looking at investors’ role in supporting companies to better address children’s rights. If you cannot make it to Visby but are keen to get the guidance document or the webinar recording, or to discuss how to go forward with children’s rights integration, I encourage you to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Any thoughts on the usefulness of the Investor Guidance are also very welcome. This is an issue that GES will continue to drive as we consider practical measures to be in the mutual interest of investors, children and society alike.