Principle 2

ALL BUSINESS SHOULD: Contribute to the elimination of child labour, including in all business activities and business relationships

“It is important that businesses work… to better understand human rights and the implications their actions have over people’s lives.”

Young people from Paraguay, Children’s Consultations for the Children’s Rights and Business Principles Initiative, 2011

The corporate responsibility to respect includes respect for the rights in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Actions for all business includes:

  1. Eliminating child labour
    Do not employ or use children in any type of child labour. Establish robust age-verification mechanisms as part of recruitment processes and ensure that these mechanisms are also used in the value chain. Be aware of the presence of all children in the workplace. In removing children from the workplace, measures to ensure protection of affected children, and, where appropriate, decent work for adult household members should be pursued. Do not put pressure on suppliers, contractors and subcontractors that are likely to result in abuses of children’s rights.
  2. Preventing, identifying and mitigating harm to young workers and protecting them from work that is prohibited for workers under 18 years old or beyond their physical and psychological capacity
    Prevent, identify and mitigate harm to young workers and protect them from work that is prohibited for workers under 18 years old or beyond their physical and psychological capacity. Protect children from hazardous work, which is likely to harm their health, safety and morals. Prevent and eliminate workplace hazards or remove children from such workplaces. Children in hazardous work should be removed immediately from the source of the hazard and protected against loss of income as a result of such interventions.  Be mindful that children of working age may face different risks in the workplace than adults, and that girls may face different risks than boys. Respect, in particular, children’s right to information, freedom of association, collective bargaining, participation, non-discrimination, privacy and protection from all forms of workplace violence – including physical, mental and other humiliating punishment, bullying and sexual abuse.

    The corporate commitment to support includes:

  3. Working with governments, social partners and others to promote education and sustainable solutions to the root causes of child labour
    1. Work with business peers, communities, child rights organizations, trade unions and governments to promote children’s education and sustainable solutions to the root causes of child labour.
    2. Support broader community, national and international efforts to eliminate child labour, including through social mobilization and awareness raising, and programmes to eradicate child labour that are designed and carried out in cooperation with local community members and children.
    3. Work in partnership with other companies, sectoral associations and employers’ organizations to develop an industry-wide approach to address child labour, and build bridges with trade unions, law enforcement authorities, labour inspectorates and others.
    4. Establish or participate in a task force or committee on child labour in representative employers’ organizations at the local, state or national level.
    5. Support the development and implementation of a national action plan against child labour as part of key policy and institutional mechanisms to combat child labour at the national level.
    6. Participate in programmes to promote youth employment, skills development and job training opportunities for young workers above the minimum age for employment.
    7. Seek to concentrate production in the formal economy and avoid informal working arrangements that may contribute to child labour.
GOOD PRACTICE: Addressing the Root Causes of Child Labour
A global home furnishings company has developed a comprehensive approach to preventing child labour in its supply chain. Suppliers are supported in implementing a corrective action plan if child labour is identified, which should take the child’s best interests into consideration, including age, family and social situation and level of education. The action plan emphasizes that responses should not merely move child labour from one supplier’s workplace to another, they should instead enable more viable and sustainable alternatives for the children involved. Since 2000, the company has developed long-term partnerships with child rights organizations to prevent and eliminate child labour in rural communities, including supporting large-scale programmes to create awareness and mobilize local communities around school enrolment drives and improved quality of education, aiming for both boys and girls to finalize their schooling. Another important component is the formation of self-help groups among rural women, helping them to enhance their economic, social and legal status by improving access to credit and income-generating opportunities. This helps to reduce the burden of debt that is one major reason families send their children to work.