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NBIM wants improvement in child labour policies

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  • NBIM wants improvement in child labour policies

NORWAY - Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) has revealed it believes there is still an "overall low" level of compliance with its expectations on children's rights across four investment sectors.

In its latest sector compliance report NBIM - which also has responsibility for the Government Pension Fund - Global - analysed the level of compliance in 430 companies in which it is invested that have a high exposure to the risk of child labour.

The report, based solely on public information, showed "performance reporting in regard to social issues in general and child labor in particular is overall low across all sectors", but highlighted the level of compliance with NBIM's 'Investor Expectations on Children's Rights' "varied significantly" between four sectors - cocoa, mining, steel and apparel.

Overall, NBIM warned "the number of companies that address children's rights and the risk of child labour in their own operations or supply chain is low".

It noted the cocoa industry displays a "relatively high level of transparency", as 30% of companies have a child labour policy in place and firms are "generally involved in more than one initiative" which addresses the issue, while a third of companies conduct continuous risk analysis and have preventative and corrective action plans in place.

The apparel industry also had a number of companies with "robust policies and monitoring and management systems in place", but in the sector as a whole only 35% of companies have reported a child labour policy and only 30% have supply chain management systems relating to the issue.

In the mining sector, although 50% report on the potential impact of social issues, there is "a significant lack of systems and considerations taken towards the risks of child labour", with only 20% of analysed firms operating a publicly-available child labour policy - the same proportion as in the steel sector where no firms operate a monitoring system for the prevention of children's rights violations.

NBIM added that although several companies have a child labour policy "there is little reference to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions 182 and 138 concerning the worst forms of child labour and minimum age standards".

It warned: "Monitoring systems for the prevention of violations of children's rights and disclosure on commitment, performance and targets for the future regarding child labour in the supply chain seems to be near absent within all sectors. Next year we hope to see improvements on all levels and we urge all companies as a minimum to put in place a publicly-available policy on the prevention of child labour."

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email nyree.stewart@ipe.com

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