London, 12 March 2012

A landmark set of ten principles to ensure that companies respect and support children’s rights have been released. UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children today introduced the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, a call on business to step up their efforts to respect and support children’s rights in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Covering a wide range of key issues – from child labour to marketing and advertising practices to the role of business in aiding children affected by emergencies – the Principles call on businesses everywhere to uphold children’s rights through their, policy commitments, due diligence and remediation measures, and to take action to advance children’s rights.

The Principles identify a comprehensive range of actions that all business should take to prevent and address adverse impacts connected with their activities and relationships, and maximize positive business impacts on children’s lives. The Principles aspire to be a key reference point for existing and future voluntary and other initiatives on business and children, and to promote multi-stakeholder collaboration. They are for all business, transnational and other, regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership and structure.

“I call on business leaders everywhere to embrace the spirit of the Principles,” said the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon in a statement he made today in support of the Principles and the efforts made by partners in their development.

The Secretary-General further noted, “Businesses increasingly recognize their responsibility to respect the rights of the youngest members of our society. In addition, many businesses are committed to supporting children and working with governments and civil society to advance children’s rights. But when it comes to children, we all need to do more.”

The Principles also seek to inform other societal actors, particularly governments and civil society, in their engagement with business. Governments at all levels have the duty to protect, respect and fulfil children’s rights. However, all societal actors, including business and civil society, must comply with applicable national law and respect international standards on children’s rights. The Principles seek to elaborate business’ role in responding to the international community’s call on all members of society to join in a global movement to help build a world fit for children.

The Principles are based on the results of a global multi-stakeholder consultation process, in which more than 600 business leaders, civil society representatives and children participated.  Additionally, several thousand people were reached throughout the consultation process. 

Save the Children, the UN Global Compact and UNICEF offer these Principles as a guide for all business in their interactions with children.


For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Liz Jones, UNICEF UK Media Relations on 07896 418445 or + 44 (0)20 7375 6030


UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit