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Tackling child labour in global value chains

A special event during the UN Global Compact Leaders’s Summit brings together companies, the ILO and employers’ and trade union representatives to discuss tools and mechanisms to tackle child labour in value chains.

Press release | 19 September 2013
NEW YORK – Representatives from major multinational enterprises, the ILO, UNICEF, as well as senior global employers’ and trade union leaders, met at a side event during the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit to discuss ways to tackle the root causes of child labour in global value chains.

The well attended event was also an opportunity for companies and other stakeholders to learn more about the Child Labour Platform (CLP). The CLP - a joint initiative by the ILO, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the Global Compact - identifies obstacles to the implementation of ILO Conventions in supply chains and the surrounding communities, as well as solutions to these obstacles and ways to catalyze collective action.

During the event, two CLP member companies - Coca Cola and Mars - presented their experiences and continued challenges in cocoa and sugar production, while a third - Telefonica - referred to its experience in using telecommunications to help raise awareness of child labour issues.

Several participants also referred to the importance of developing community-based child labour monitoring systems, and the central role that the ILO could play in helping governments, companies, employers’ organizations and trade unions strengthen their monitoring capacity of child labour, right down to the village level. They also mentioned the links that the CLP provides to local and national governments.

Brent Wilton, Secretary- General of the International Organization of Employers, welcomed the participation of various companies in the event and encouraged them to take advantage of the CLP as a platform for sharing experiences and ideas about what works and what doesn’t work to combat child labour.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of the IndustriALL global union and the ITUC representative in the meeting, echoed the growing conviction that labour relations systems could deliver more than social auditing. He said that by bringing together companies and trade unions, the CLP can help to uncover the hidden depths of subcontracting and in the informal economy, where child labour is most prevalent.

ILO Assistant Director- General, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, urged more companies to join the CLP. He said the CLP not only offers cross-sectoral knowledge on child labour issues from other companies, but also access to 20 years of experience in technical expertise, field work and policy advice from the ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour – the Platform's secretariat.

Child Labour Platform (CLP), a win-win option for businesses and communities
Senior Officer for Corporate Social Responsibility in ILO-IPEC, explains why CLP’s tools are a win-win option for businesses and communities to address child labour.
For further information please contact: Benjamin Smith of the CLP Secretariat,