GES Newsletter
April 18, 2014

The report “Investor Perspective on Children’s Rights”, launched last week at the Global Child Forum’s annual event at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, is a result of the cooperation between GES and Global Child Forum (GCF), a Swedish not-for-profit foundation. They surveyed 195 asset owner signatories to the PRI in order to investigate to what extent and how investors are currently taking related aspects into account in their policies and practices. GES considers children’s rights a vital issue for responsible investors, and one which requires more attention and better integration into investment strategies. The report concludes that a lot more work remains to be done to move the issue of children’s rights forward.

Most investors do not explicitly recognise children as an area to be accounted for in its own right, and many of those who do focus only on child labour. Overall, the low response rate to our survey implies that investors are not yet entirely sure how to approach the issue, and relatively few appear to have developed procedures for practical implementation. Furthermore, while the survey showed that investors believe that related issues can have a material impact, demonstrating this link was cited as the key challenge standing in the way of stronger integration into investment decision-making.

The full report is available here.

However, there are also investors which have already taken very concrete steps to meaningfully integrate children’s rights into the way they manage their assets, and some of these presented their experiences and solutions at the dedicated session at the Global Child Forum. It is hoped that this inaugural survey and the subsequent discussion will provide a push towards a better and broader understanding of how investors can address children’s rights. GES and GCF intend to repeat the survey annually to measure progress and track developments, and look forward to documenting improved awareness next year already. To that end, the two organisations will work with a group of investors on an initiative aimed at finding ways for investors to promote children’s rights and encouraging more asset owners and managers to follow suit. GES will also host a webinar on the topic in May, on which more information will follow.

“In line with the Global Child Forum’s mission to bring leaders together from all parts of the society to jointly work on better implementation of children’s rights, we believe that investors, too, have a very important role to play. By influencing and working with companies and other stakeholders, investors can have a tremendously positive impact on the promotion on children’s rights. The Global Child Forum is pleased to cooperate with GES and committed investors to position children’s rights high up on the investment agenda”, commented Ulf Karlberg, Chairman, Global Child Forum.

“Engaging on children’s rights has been a central aspect in GES’ work from the very beginning and this report marks our intensifying efforts to raise awareness of this issue across the investment community. It is crucial to note that there are child-related matters other than child labour which are material and strategically important to investors. Children will form the future and are therefore a factor that long-term investors in particular must not overlook. GES looks forward to supporting its clients towards further integration and action relating to children’s rights”, said Magnus Furugård, President and Managing Director, GES.

For further information, please contact:
Tytti Kaasinen, Senior Engagement Manager