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Reports of child labour have increased since 2021 and businesses are facing new and complex challenges to eradicating it in their supply chains. Bringing together learnings from ‘The Elimination of Child Labour’ webinar series and the 2023 Child Labour Working Group, the UN Global Compact Network UK has produced guidance to support and re-engage businesses in the fight against child labour.  

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The Elimination of Child Labour - Webinar Series

To commemorate the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, UN Global Compact Network UK & UN Global Compact Network USA launched the Elimination of Child Labour Webinar Series. The five sessions featured a series of discussions over the course of the year, to raise awareness on the importance of the elimination of child labour and to translate business aspirations into business actions. The series brought private sector representatives together with UN agencies, academia, and civil society to discuss the challenges on the ground, as well as share best practice examples to eliminate child labour and accelerate progress to end child labour for good.
*'Spanish translation kindly provided by UN Global Compact Network Mexico

Intro to Child Labour

The discovery of child labour in a company’s supply chain can have devastating impacts on a brand. Endemic in many sourcing countries, 160 million children worldwide are subjected to child labour today. This webinar introduced the issue of child labour in global supply chains and provided suggestions for practical solutions by highlighting key stakeholders’ actions.

For further reading:


International Organisation of Employers (IOE) - ILO-IOE Child Labour Guidance Tool for Business

Government of the Netherlands - Dutch government’s Fund against Child Labour

Williams-Sonoma - Williams-Sonoma’s supply chain labor practices policy.

IKEA - IKEA’s Child Labour Action Pledge.

Ford - Ford’s supplier code of conduct.

CLWS Informal Sector

There is a high prevalence of child labour in the informal economy, in both urban and rural settings. Child labour is particularly widespread in agriculture, artisanal mining, manufacturing, street work, and domestic work. While monitoring the informal sector is challenging, it remains essential for all companies to mitigate these risks in their supply chain. Focusing on supply chains helps identify where and how the formal business sector intersects with the informal sector. This webinar considerd the connection between primary activities (mainly informal and occurring in bottom tiers) and formal activities further along the chain.

For further reading:

Centre for Child Rights and Business - Centre for Child Rights and Business’ work.

 Dr. Vivek Soundararajan, University of Bath - Soundararajan’s research projects.

 Fifty Eight - 

FairTrade USA -Fair Trade USA’s work.


Over the last few decades, the ‘fast fashion’ model has had a deteriorating effect on supply chain conditions. Low wages, forced labour, unhealthy and dangerous working conditions are widespread throughout the garment supply chain and have exacerbated the issue of child labour. This webinar will discuss sector-specific challenges and examine practical actions business can take to address child labour in the apparel sector.

For further reading:

GoodWeave International -

International Labour Organisation (ILO) -ILO’s Child Labour Platform.

The Very Group -The Very Group’s Modern Slavery Statement.

 Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) - ETI’s work on child labour.

The informal nature of the agricultural sector, with its demand for cheap and low-skilled labour, have resulted in high rates of child labour across the industry. ILO data suggests that 112 million boys and girls work in agriculture, growing crops ranging from tobacco and cotton to grains and fruit. Companies risk finding child labour in the lower tiers of their supply chain, including in the agricultural industry. This webinar will discuss the challenges and examine practical actions business can take to address child labour within the sector.

For further reading:

EU Commission -

 Fair Labor Association (FLA) -

 Rainforest Alliance (RA) -

International Cocoa Initiative (ICI)

 Nestlé -

In mines and quarries worldwide, it is estimated that over one million children are engaged in child labour. Mining and quarrying is considered hazardous work and therefore one of the worst forms of child labour. The raw materials being sourced enter the supply chain of a range of other industries: metals are used in technology, sand and gravel are used in construction, and minerals are used in cosmetics & automotive. This webinar will explore the challenges and examine practical actions business can take to address child labour within these sectors.

For further reading:

U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)

Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)

Responsible Mica Initiative - Responsible Mica Initiative

Fairphone - Fairphone’s child labour efforts

L’Oreal - L’Oreal’s Human Rights Policy


For any questions about the Elimination of Child Labour Webinar Series, please contact Marcella Mizzi, Project Manager (Business & Human Rights).