Safeguarding children is a core element of ESG accountability.

Specifically incorporating a safeguarding children focus into Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices is crucial for businesses for the following reasons:

Reason 1 – Ethical Responsibility

Business has a moral obligation to protect the rights and well-being of children and young people. This includes ensuring their safety, health, education, and general welfare. Safeguarding children practices meets the standards for Responsible Business Conduct.

Reason 2 – Risk Mitigation

Neglecting child safeguarding can lead to significant legal, reputational, and operational risks. Businesses that fail to address these issues may face litigation, regulatory fines, or public backlash, damaging their brand and financial performance.

Reason 3 – Brand Reputation

Demonstrating a commitment to child safeguarding and children’s rights can enhance a company’s reputation. Consumers and investors increasingly prefer socially responsible businesses, which can lead to increased market share and positive public perception.

Reason 4 – Sustainable Development

Focusing on children’s rights as part of ESG aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 4 (Quality Education) and Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions). It contributes to a more sustainable and equitable world, which can be a driving force for long-term business success.

Reason 5 – Legal Compliance

Incorporating child safeguarding measures ensures compliance with laws and regulations aimed at protecting children and young people, such as child labour laws, human trafficking, age-appropriate marketing, and data protection regulations.

Reason 6 – Workforce Productivity and Morale

A company that values child safeguarding is likely to foster a culture of care and responsibility. This can lead to improved workforce morale and improved wellbeing outcomes for their workforce and their families.

What does safeguarding children mean for business?

Safeguarding children is an essential element of responsible conduct for all businesses. It is an approach that places children and young people at the centre of due diligence processes that businesses regularly undertake on a range of critical issues. It applies best practice knowledge so that businesses consider more explicitly how they engage children and young people in their business practices, products, services and supply chains. Safeguarding children empowers businesses to make a significant contribution to community-wide efforts to protect children and young people from abuse and exploitation. Businesses play a vital role in ensuring that children and young people are protected from harm and exploitation, both within their operations and through their influence in supply chains and major business relationships. Their commitment to child safeguarding reflects their ethical responsibility, legal obligations, and contribution to creating a safer and more secure environment for children and young people.

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acknowledgement of country and abuse victims
The On Us: Australian Business Coalition for Safeguarding Children acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters across Australia in which we share. We honour and pay our respects to Elders past and present and acknowledge the many thousands of years in which First Nations’ peoples have raised their children to be safe and strong. We also acknowledge the spirit and courage of victims and survivors of childhood abuse, exploitation and violence. Their efforts over many years have inspired our commitment to make changes at every level to better protect the children of today.