To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and explicitly target SDG 8.7 on the elimination of all forms of child labour by 2025, the private sector plays a key role. Companies and the private sector are expected to adopt more sustainable practices in the ways they conduct business, ensuring that child labour is not used along their supply chains. One way in which the food and agricultural private sector can contribute to the elimination of child labour in agriculture is through sustainability reporting standards. Over the last decade, numerous accounting and sustainability reporting standards have been developed, enabling companies to improve their practices towards sustainability. In the case of child labour in agriculture, indicators can be included in the sustainability reporting standards to measure the positive and conducive transformation in business practices.
The indicator on child labour in agriculture could be reformulated to focus on: Measures applied to address cases of non-compliance with child labour national and international laws. In this manner, private sector could report on the positive contribution to address encountered cases of child labour.
The indicator on one hand can capture the situation of child labour the business faces:
- The total number of incidents of non-compliance with laws, regulations and/or international standards regarding child labour. And whether the incidents involved the worst forms of child labour (including hazardous work, forced labour, slavery, etc.).
- The indicators should include data disaggregation by age, gender, and migrant/national child labourer, and report the agricultural tasks undertaken by children.
On the other hand, the indicator on child labour can also capture the transformation of businesses towards the prevention and reduction of child labour in agriculture, capturing:
- Total number of measures and activities applied to address cases of non-compliance with child labour national and international laws.
- The type of measures and activities implemented: addressed hazardous work (removal of hazard), incentives to school attendance, increased access to education or training, care facilities, implemented labour-saving technologies, provided fair prices for farmers and fair wages for workers to reduce family's economic burden, or other relevant actions.
Such reporting systems can be used by businesses not only to monitor the situation of child labour in agriculture, but also to highlight positive and progressive actions and measures implemented to reduce child labour in agriculture. Reporting also on positive progress or changes can contribute to a more positive and open dialogue with businesses and their important role in reducing child labour through transformative approaches.
Ms. Mariam Mikadze