Children as Stakeholders

Business Should Listen to Children for the Sake of Business
Children clapping hands
Photo: 
Pernilla Norström

Children matter to business. Business interacts with children in a variety of ways across society. As consumers, employees, future partners, future business leaders, and members of the communities in which businesses operate, children are clearly important to business.

There are clear benefits for those businesses that respect and support children’s rights. A business, for example, that builds goodwill in the community, abides by the law, considers the families of its workforce, develops a good human rights reputation, and recognizes the potential of children as community members, consumers, and future employees and partners, will enjoy the rewards of such commitment in both social and economic terms.

It is important that businesses work...to better understand human rights and the implications their actions have over people's lives. Young person in Paraguay

Listen to children – create real business benefit

Motivated workforce

By listening to the needs, opinions and suggestions of young workers, for example, businesses can avoid large staff turn-over and attract a higher-quality, more motivated workforce. Young workers who are toiling for a socially-conscious company will naturally feel more committed to their work knowing that it is meaningfully adding value to the society in which they live. A motivated workforce translates into a more efficient workforce, thus reducing production costs.

We will respect those companies who followed proper policies for young workers... provide proper working guidelines and maintain proper respect to [children]. 12 year-old girl in Bangladesh

Manage risks

Businesses that listen to children might also better manage risks at all levels. Such attention to risk will certainly reduce incidents of child-rights violations and will likewise reduce negative media attention.

Improve brand

Businesses that listen to children will be better positioned to improve their brand. As more and more customers actively seek out those companies who offer socially-responsible products and services, brand reputation is increasingly becoming central to success.

Realize sustainability goals

Businesses that listen to children will be better informed about the immediate community in which they operate. In this way, business can sharpen its social development investments, rendering them more effective. Cultivating a dialogue with children and young people will help business develop and realize its sustainability goals. Investing in children is, after all, the ultimate definition of sustainability.