A Mutually Beneficial Partnership

In 2012, Accenture’s social enterprise business, Accenture Development Partnerships, began to help Save the Children develop tools to help companies incorporate the Children’s Rights and Business Principles as part of their core business strategies. 

Together Accenture and Save the Children have developed a model and corporate assessment tool for implementing the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.

“Our role was to incorporate the knowledge that Save the Children possesses into business language, and provide a value chain structure for it,” Fredrik Nilzén, Global Manager for Accenture’s Corporate Citizenship global partnership with Save the Children says.

The model brings a company through a start-up process of helping them understand, respect and commit to children’s rights, paralleled with policy reviews, online self-assessments, interviews and workshops with key staff. After the assessment, an action plan is formalised tailoring the implementation to each corporate client, and Save the Children is there to support with expertise for the implementation of the actions. Save the Children has used this model with a number of large, medium and small businesses around the world.

“The added value of the approach is that you have Save the Children’s child rights expertise combined with Accenture’s business and industry experience,” Fredrik Nilzén says. “It is a very action-oriented set of tools you get, enabling you to implement fundamental principles in your company’s business operations.”

Children’s rights are a concern for all companies 

With 373,000 employees worldwide, Accenture is one of the world’s leading global professional services companies, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Fredrik Nilzén explains how the business model of Accenture directly relates to the rights of children:

“Child rights are a concern for all companies. Investing in the next generation is core to Accenture, since our business is based on our people and their talent. We focus a lot on talent development, and it is therefore natural to use our core competencies to support the society’s challenges and opportunities in that space.”

Nilzén also stresses the importance of partnerships between sectors:

“Going forward, we all must use our different professional competencies to achieve sustainable results. Save the Children has skills, relationships and experience in this arena, which helps maximize our impact. We have not yet found a methodology that is more powerful for companies that want to implement child rights in their core business.”

Important to collaborate with civil society

Nilzén argues that understanding and addressing implications of the child rights perspectives is a complex matter and that many companies don’t have the knowledge to do this by themselves:

“To effectively use handbooks or general tools an organisation needs to have built deep knowledge and competence around that core issue to be able to gain success. Just as everyone does not practice law or make loans, protecting and actually saving children who are at risk requires the special expertise of an organisation like Save the Children.”

“Save the Children has the unique expertise and experience that is needed. Companies, like Accenture, bring other specialised skills and experience that Save the Children needs but are not core to their organizational mission.”

Radical turns ahead for sustainability 

“Across industries, the ability for businesses to sustainably transform themselves for tomorrow is the key in order to be relevant long-term,” Nilzén says.

He is optimistic about the increasing role of children’s rights:

“We will see less proof-of-concepts and more radical turns where companies disrupt traditional industry logic in the coming years. For companies producing products in certain emerging market situations, child rights-related issues are very much a concern as they hold contractors to standards. They also are looking to the future and the skills that they will need in their workforce.”

“Having child rights matters as an integral part of the UN Global Compact principles and the new UN Global Goals adds legitimacy for companies to act. In addition, both disasters and success stories will help companies to gain speed in transforming their business.”