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Fight child labor: a sustainable investment

  • Date: 29/09/2020
  • Time: 1:30 - 5:00 PM

Children are not supposed to work. They have the right to enjoy good education, the right to play and to be a real child, in a safe environment. VBDO is organizing a digital seminar together with the Alliance Work: No Child’s Business in which we enter into dialogue with the financial sector. We discuss the problems and causes of child labor and the role that companies and financial institutions can play and find an answer to the question how do we work together towards real progress?

The webinar is intended for representatives of financial institutions and aims to further explore and improve the possibilities of engagement on the theme of child labor.


  • Welcome
    Angélique Laskewitz
  • 13:30 Introduction: causes and approach to child labor
    Sofie Ovaa | Program Manager, “Work: No Child’s Business”
  • 13:45 Why does child labor remain invisible in the investment chain?
    Willem Schramade | Sustainable Finance Consultant, The Sustainable Finance Factory
  • 14:00 How companies deal with child labour
    Kees Gootjes | Senior Consultant Business & Human Rights, ERM
  • 14:15 Commitment to child labor in the cocoa sector
    Adrie Heinsbroek | Principal Responsible Investment, NN IP
  • 14:30 Interactive break-out session
    Under the guidance of a moderator and with specific questions, small groups will discuss the theme of the webinar and the contribution of the speakers.
  • 15:00 Closure

Highlights en presentation

We looked back on an informative and active afternoon program, which ended with a good discussion and hope that this webinar can be a first step towards improved cooperation to combat child labor.

Conclusions of break-out working groups:

Child labor should be prioritized; the practice is unacceptable and poses a great amount of human risk to the financial sector. Thereby:

  • Child labor is rarely reflected in ESG analysis and due diligence;
  • There are no widely used standards within the financial sector. And, what does remediation actually look like for a bank or investor?
  • Few investors and banks are embracing child labor as a priority;
  • While initiatives have been presented during the webinar that are making progress (such as specific engagement and due diligence), participants agree that those initiatives should be shared with a wider audience;
  • Several breakouts emphasized the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to make progress. Ideally, local children’s rights organizations can feed information back to ESG risk analysts and engagement employees of financial institutions;
  • Transparency could be better. Best practices and examples of multi-stakeholder initiatives should be shared, as should data collection. This can be more automated and structured;
  • Child labor deserves a platform in which open information is shared and improved by taking joint action.

Presentations of the speakers can be found here.