Principle 7

ALL BUSINESS SHOULD: Respect and support children’s rights in relation to the environment and to land acquisition and use

Each year, around three million children under five years old die due to environment-related diseases.

World Health Organization, Global Plan of Action for Children’s Health and the Environment (2010 – 2015)

The corporate responsibility to respect includes:

  1. Respecting children’s rights in relation to the environment
    1. When planning and implementing environmental and resource-use strategies, ensure that business operations do not adversely affect children’s rights, including through damage to the environment or reducing access to natural resources.
    2. Ensure the rights of children, their families and communities are addressed in contingency plans and remediation for environmental and health damage from business operations, including accidents.
  2. Respecting children’s rights as an integral part of human rights considerations when acquiring or using land for business operations
    1. Where possible, avoid or minimize displacement of communities affected by land acquisition or land use for business purposes. Engage in meaningful, informed consultation with potentially affected communities to ensure that any adverse impact on children’s rights is identified and addressed and that communities participate actively in and contribute to decision-making on matters that affect them directly. Seeking the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples is specifically required for any project that affects their communities, and it is a desirable goal for any community impacted by a company’s use or acquisition of land.
    2. Respect children’s rights – especially their right to education, protection, health, adequate food and adequate standard of living and participation – when planning and carrying out resettlement and providing for compensation.
  3. The corporate commitment to support includes:

  4. Supporting children’s rights in relation to the environment where future generations will live and grow
    Take measures to progressively reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from company operations and promote resource use that is sustainable. Recognize that these actions and other initiatives to better the environment will impact future generations. Identify opportunities to prevent and mitigate disaster risk and support communities in finding ways to adapt to the consequences of climate change.
GOOD PRACTICE: Schoolchildren learn about energy conservation
A leading Indian company recognized the valuable contributions that schools and schoolchildren – together with youth, parents, teachers, partners and the community at large – can make to help curb excess power usage. As the demand for power in India increases, and energy resources are being rapidly depleted, the company sought to involve youth in an initiative to avert a crippling power crisis. In 2007, it began raising awareness among school children in Mumbai about energy conservation issues and gave them the tools and skills they need to share this information with their families and communities. The initiative has grown to become a national movement involving more than 250 schools and educating more than 1million citizens.