Due Diligence

Put respect and support for children’s rights into practice using our due diligence tools.

Human rights due diligence is an ongoing risk management process that a company needs to follow in order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how it addresses its human rights impacts, including children’s rights. It is an essential component of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBPs).

The Atlas facilitates the identification of children’s rights concerns to integrate into business due diligence processes. This section provides links to tools and guidance on children’s rights in corporate due diligence. It also provides definitions of the due diligence categories used in the scoring of the Atlas.

To undertake human rights due diligence with consideration of children’s rights, companies should undertake the following:

  • Policy commitment: commit to respecting children’s rights in corporate policies and statements
  • Assess potential and actual impacts: understand how the company adversely impacts children, and identify opportunities to support positive impacts
  • Stakeholder engagement: engage stakeholders on children’s rights, and ensure that the impact assessment process does not negatively impact children
  • Integrate findings: act on identified impacts by developing targeted mitigation and prevention strategies across the business
  • Report: disclose efforts undertaken to respect children’s rights; and
  • Remediate: implement grievance mechanisms and remediate any adverse impacts discovered

Use the Atlas to prioritise impacts

To be effective, due diligence approaches should be tailored to meet the level of risk of adverse impact on children’s rights, and nature of business operations. For multinational businesses with global operations and value chains, due diligence can be a complex exercise.

The UNGPs and CRBPs recognise this challenge and encourage companies to prioritise addressing the most salient and severe impacts on children first, particularly where delayed response would make the impact irremediable. In practice, some rights may be at greater risk than others in particular industries or contexts, and therefore should be the focus of heightened attention. However, it is important that all human rights impacts are the subject of periodic review, as situations may change.

Consistent with this approach, the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas identifies four levels of due diligence, assigned according to the severity and likelihood of adverse children’s rights impacts. The Atlas scores are used to assess the severity and likelihood of adverse impact in the country context, and a due diligence level is assigned accordingly.

We do not recommend that companies and investors refrain from investing a country with a high score or categorised as ‘heightened due diligence’. The Atlas tool is designed to help investors and businesses make informed operational, investment and sourcing decisions according to the UNGPs and CRBPs, and to implement human rights due diligence procedures that correspond to the level of risk of adverse impact.

It should also be noted that the Atlas is designed to measure contextual risk of adverse impact at the national level – that is, risk that is inherent to the operating environment in countries. Companies may find that there are adverse impacts which are made more severe due to the types of operations or sub-national context, which can change the level and complexity of due diligence required. Therefore, companies should always carry out children’s rights impact assessments of their operations and activities in order to conduct fully informed due diligence.

The following table serves as a guide to each due diligence level.

Workplace Marketplace Community and Environment Due Diligence Level Score Description
Basic 0.0-2.5 Where there is a risk that the business will cause or contribute to adverse impacts on children's rights, but the impact may not be severe and/or the risk may be unlikely to materialise. Although the severity may be low, the company should still undertake periodic review of its impacts to account for changing circumstances.
Moderate 2.5-5.0 Where there is a significant risk that the business will cause or contribute to adverse impacts on children's rights, and the impact is moderately severe and/or is moderately likely to materialise. Companies should assess their impacts to determine whether operational or sub-national context requires elevated due diligence.
Enhanced 5.0-7.5 Where there is a high risk that the business will cause or contribute to adverse impacts on children's rights, and the impact is significantly severe and/or is significantly likely to materialise. Companies should assess their impacts to determine whether operational or sub-national context requires elevated due diligence.
Heightened 7.5-10.0 Where there is a very high level of risk that the business will cause or contribute to adverse impact on children's rights; and where the impact is very severe and very likely to occur. Under these circumstances, enhanced mitigation efforts may not suffice, and companies should be as proactive as possible in efforts to prevent and mitigate adverse impacts from occurring, and remediate ongoing impacts.