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Child Rights Risks in Global Supply Chains: Why a ‘Zero Tolerance’ Approach is not Enough

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Save the Children Germany

As a 2021 global report by the Global Child Forum has shown, most companies still fail to understand the impact their businesses have on children and the wider communities.

To shed a brighter light on the situation of children impacted by global supply chains, The Centre for Child Rights and Business, a subsidiary of Save the Children, has since 2019 conducted a total of 20 Supply Chain Child Rights Risk Assessments for public and private partners in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Commissioned by Save the Children Germany, this report conducts a meta-analysis of all 20 assessments. These studies provide an exhaustive data set documenting the child rights situation in today’s supply chains. It covers eight sourcing countries within the manufacturing, agriculture and mining industries, and not only assesses key child rights violations and industry-specific challenges but also discloses gaps and good practices in companies’ supply chain management.

Through the analysis of data from 20 assessments, we can summarise the key findings as follows:

  • Child Labour is Almost Endemic
  • Low Income and High Education Costs Drive Child Labour
  • Lack of Formalisation is a Multiplier of Child Rights Risks
  • Youth is Marginalised by Zero-Tolerance Policies
  • Manufacturing Industry: No Access to Childcare
  • Mining: Worst Forms of Child Labour

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