LONDON, Dec 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nordic
companies, highly dependent on supply chains in Asia, lag behind
international standards in guaranteeing children's rights,
according to a report by an international rights group.
The study of 300 of the Nordic region's largest companies by
Global Child Forum found companies scored below the global
average on a combination of issues including child labour,
charitable initiatives for children, and accountability.
"Nordic countries are small, open economies that are highly
dependent on supply chain operations, especially in Southeast
Asia where child labour is a concern," Global Child Forum said
in a statement on Monday.
Fiona Rotberg, research director at the rights group, said
despite the reputation of the Nordic region's companies for
innovation and social responsibility, the majority of companies
fell short in policies to combat child labour.
Only 10 percent of the companies reported that their board
took responsibility for children's rights issues.
The report said major Nordic IT companies such as Telenor,
Tele2, and Telia Company stood out for initiatives that address
children's rights issues such as online bullying. Electricals
producer Clas Ohlson, clothing retailer H&M, and engineering
firm Trelleborg scored highly across the board.
"They have become leaders as a result of increased
awareness, increased pressure within the industry," Rotberg told
the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
But companies in healthcare, financial services, food,
travel, and oil industries scored far lower.
Across all companies surveyed, three out of four have a
policy banning child labour but only 17 percent of companies
report the results of these policies.
(Reporting by Matthew Ponsford, Editing by Ros Russell.; Please
credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of
Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights,
traficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)