Preventing corporate abuse and realising child rights:

the case for UK legislation on human rights and environmental due diligence

Business is a central part of our society and vital to the lives of children. UK businesses and supply chains operate around the globe. They connect us to children labouring to produce cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire, to children of factory workers in Bangladesh producing our clothes as well as to children around the world using apps and products developed by British Tech companies.

Our new report, Preventing corporate abuse and realising child rights highlights how businesses can have wide-ranging negative impacts on children and how these can be prevented or mitigated. All these impacts can have serious, long-lasting, often irreversible, consequences on the lives of children.

However, with the necessary will and appropriate preventative action by businesses, many of these abuses could be avoided or reduced.

What are we calling for?

Some companies are leading the way in taking action, however, there are still too many that are failing to meet their responsibility to respect human rights and the environment. Fewer still are adequately integrating child rights into such efforts.

The current rate of change is extremely slow and voluntary action alone will never be enough to bring the scale needed at the speed required.

This is why UNICEF UK is calling on the UK Government to introduce new legislation for businesses to ensure they are required to take preventative action to respect child rights and the environment, by conducting human rights and environmental due diligence; and that they are held accountable when abuses occur.

Download our report to see why the UK Government should introduce this legislation and our recommendations for how this legislation can ensure children’s rights are respected around the world. 

Business plays a hugely important role in the lives of children; in our modern digital world, we interact with businesses more than ever. While this comes with unique advantages, it can threaten children and young people’s access to their rights, both in the UK and globally - impacting children’s education, healthcare, right to play and more.

As members of the Unicef UK Youth Advisory Board, we want to voice our support for this report and its recommendations to the UK Government - a great step towards realising child rights and protecting young people and the environment.
Eddie Rose and Maham Malik, Unicef UK Youth Advisory Board members