Evli and UNICEF Finland are working together to find out how Finnish companies take children's rights into account in their activities. The aim is to provide information to support decision making to ensure that children's rights are taken into account in investment activities. Investors have the power to influence how children's rights are implemented in companies’ operations. Therefore, Evli has made children's rights one of the focus areas of its responsible investment work.
The research project between UNICEF Finland and Evli, which started last autumn, is exploring what kind of metrics would be most clear to use to measure how children’s rights are taken into consideration in business activities and how to make these metrics even more accurate. The study is unique in the world, as there are only a few known similar projects.
"The aim is to provide investors with the necessary background information and tools to integrate children's rights into their investment decision-making. UNICEF Finland is studying how well Finnish listed companies have succeeded in implementing children’s rights so that we know where companies are performing well and where there is room for improvement. The research is being conducted using public data sources and at the moment it seems that companies may not be disclosing their work on human rights and children's rights to the extent that they could," says Outi Kauppinen, Senior Advisor at UNICEF Finland.
Children's rights in investment and business activities
"Based on Children’s Rights and Business Principles, companies have a responsibility to respect child rights, and this also applies to investment companies. Companies should commit to respecting human rights and children’s rights and take these into account beyond child labour both in their own activities and in value chains," says Kauppinen.
Investors can have a significant influence on how companies reduce risks to children and promote children's rights.
"Children are a uniquely vulnerable stakeholder group, and they may experience challenges advocating for themselves. Taking children's rights into account in investment activities creates opportunities for all children and equalises their opportunities in life," says Anna-Liisa Rissanen, Portfolio Manager at Evli.
Evli explores how to better take into account children's rights in investment activities
Evli is investigating which industries have risks that may affect children's rights and what these risks are. In this way, portfolio managers are provided with information on the subject, which makes it easier to pay attention to children's rights when making investment decisions.
"For example, on the materials side, it has become clear how widely and at different points in the production process the rights of the child come to the fore. Many different products are made from materials in the chemical and forestry industries, which means that in addition to production, the safety of the products made from them must also be taken into consideration," says Rissanen.
Based on the industry-specific analysis, children’s rights can be more strongly integrated into methods for responsible investing. In practice, this means that when analysing investment decisions, they could be considered as part of the company analysis.
At Evli, children's rights have taken a prominent role in the development work of responsible investing. The ESG training day for Evli's portfolio managers included a focus on children's rights - what overall is included in children's rights and in how children’s rights can be included as part of the investment decision.
"Considering children’s rights is risk management for the investor, and therefore a sound investment. Companies that take children into account tend to have a long-term approach to sustainability, which creates the opportunity for success," says Elina Niiranen, Senior Analyst, Responsible Investment at Evli.
World Children’s Day is celebrated on November 20
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified UN human rights treaty in the world. It brings together a vision of the basic conditions for a good life and growth for children. The UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989, which is now the World Children's Day. The aim of the day and the following week is to raise awareness of children's rights among children, adults, educators and policy makers. This year's theme is children's right to well-being.
For more information, contact:
Elina Niiranen, Senior Analyst, Responsible Investment, Evli Plc, tel. +358 40 567 3446, firstname.lastname@example.org