Breakthrough for Corporate Governance: Leading seed producers united in fight against child labour
12 June – World Day Against Child Labour – several leading global players within the plant science industry announced today that they have joined forces to combat child labour within seed production. This joint effort was initiated by Norges Bank as part of its ownership activities towards companies in its portfolio.
The announcement was made by CropLife International, a global federation representing the plant science industry which works to promote sustainable development within agriculture. The member companies include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Bayer CropScience BASF and Dow AgroSciences.
The companies have drafted an industry standard which describes joint measures that the companies will put in place to prohibit the use of child labour by suppliers and other business partners within the seed supply chain.
“This represents a breakthrough in a sector that operates in countries with a high risk of child labour. Norges Bank has been a driving force in this process and we welcome the industry standard these companies have now agreed on in order to work toward the elimination of child labour in the seed production industry. Large multinational companies must shoulder their share of the responsibility for safeguarding the basic rights of children affected by the activities of the companies. Combating child labour will be a long and arduous task, and it is important that this collaboration is followed up systematically and efficiently,” says Anne Kvam, head of corporate governance at Norges Bank Investment Management.
The fight against child labour and measures to promote the rights of children is a priority area for Norges Bank’s corporate governance activities in relation to the Government Pension Fund – Global. This work is conducted in accordance with NBIM’s long-term approach as an investor and the international standards upon which corporate governance is based.
Earlier this year Norges Bank published a report on the level of compliance with the NBIM’s Expectations in 430 portfolio companies with regard to their work on children’s rights and the fight against child labour. This subject is one of Norges Bank’s areas of priority in its corporate governance and corporate engagement and was also documented in NBIM Investor Expectations on Children’s Rights.
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