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Canadian businesses and civil society unite for children’s rights

2014-02-13

TORONTO, February 13, 2014: Some of Canada’s most prominent companies joined forces with the Global Compact Network Canada, Save the Children and UNICEF Canada today to release the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. This is the first comprehensive CSR framework to guide companies on the full range of actions they can take to respect and support children’s rights in the workplace, marketplace, environment and community.

Key leaders from government, business, civil society and the media attended the Canadian launch, hosted by The Canadian Club of Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York. Lois Brown MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, attended on behalf of the Government of Canada and spoke to the opportunities for Canadian businesses.

"The Government’s top development priority is maternal, newborn and child health, and that is why we are proud to support this important initiative. Governments, companies, civil society, and individuals all have a role to play in ensuring children, particularly those in developing countries, are provided with the tools to secure a bright future."

-Lois Brown MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

The event also featured a panel discussion moderated by Diana Bishop, former CTV news correspondent, with: John LeBoutillier, President and CEO, Unilever Canada; Doug Horswill, Senior Vice President, Teck Resources; Juanita Montalvo, Senior Vice-President, Sherritt International; and Brendan Seale, Sustainability Manager, IKEA Canada.

As a global consumer packaged goods company, Unilever has a responsibility to conduct business in a responsible and sustainable way.  Unilever not only implements stringent internal guidelines on our marketing and advertising, but we work to drive an environment where the production, marketing and consumption of products adds to the benefit and wellbeing of children. In Canada we send positive and educational messages through programs like the Dove Self Esteem Fund and the Hellmann’s Real Food Movement. We hope that all companies, small, medium and large, will embrace the goals set out in The Children’s Rights and Business Principles Framework.

-John Le Boutillier, President & CEO, Unilever Canada

Canadian businesses are invited to access the tools and join a quarterly working group on business and children, hosted by the Global Compact Network Canada and co-chaired by Save the Children and UNICEF Canada.

"Sherritt International welcomes the release of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles here in Canada, and encourages all Canadian businesses, and extractive companies in particular, to engage in this initiative. The Principles offer a practical framework for companies to develop systems to demonstrate their respect for children's rights, while contributing to their social license to operate and grow, their risk management efforts and, more broadly, to good business practice."

-Juanita Montalvo, Senior Vice-President, Sherritt International

UNICEF, Save the Children and the United Nations Global Compact developed the 10 Principles to provide a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing the impact of business on the rights and well-being of children. The Principles cover decent work, child labour, protection and safety, products and services, marketing and advertising, environment and land acquisition, security arrangements, emergencies, and government and community efforts.

Visit www.unicef.ca/csr or www.childrenandbusiness.org for more information and use the hashtag #CSRchildren to join the conversation on Twitter.

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The Children’s Rights and Business Principles

Children are frequently overlooked as stakeholders, and are easily affected by, particularly vulnerable to, and often less visible in business operations. UNICEF, Save the Children and the United Nations Global Compact developed the 10 Principles to provide a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing het impact of business on the rights and well-being of children. Visit www.childrenandbusiness.org for more information.

Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving lives in about 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development, and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca

UNICEF Canada

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

UN Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative, with over 10,000 signatories from 130 countries, including over 7,800 companies. The UN Global Compact is founded on ten universally accepted principles relating to the areas of human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption.

Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC) is the local network chapter of the United Nations Global Compact. As the 101st local network of the UN Global Compact, the GCNC supports Canadian signatories (both Canadian firms and subsidiaries of global signatories) in the implementation of the Ten Principles, while facilitating and creating opportunities for multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.