Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) and UNICEF signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which aims to create a business climate that respects and supports the rights of children and promotes social responsibility (CSR) aimed at children. Partner, PKS and UNICEF will advocate responsible business initiatives and advocate for the introduction of legislation that are aimed towards children in business, encouraging members of the Chamber to exercise a positive influence on respect for the rights of the child.
Business sector inevitably realised a large direct and indirect impact on children. Children are family members of their employees, and members of communities in which they work. In many countries, the children themselves are increasingly being defined as a consumer group that has an allowance and increasing influence on what the family buys. Children are market factor that must not be lost out out of sight, but they still need protection from inappropriate advertising and from unhealthy or unsafe products and services. Therefore, the companies consciously or not, have great power to contribute to the welfare and respect for the rights of children, or to disrupt them.
UNICEF, in cooperation with 35 large companies in Serbia recognised by social responsibility, in late 2015 conducted a survey in order to assess the overall impact of the business sector on the Serbian children. The research results show that the business sector in the country is dedicated to CSR and it has highly valued activities aimed at children, but also that there is room for improvement in the system of regulating children’s rights through strategic documents and business policies in order to ensure legitimate influence of the business sector on the whole range of children’s rights. During the research, they identified examples of good practice implemented by Serbian companies which are in accordance with the Principles of business law and expedition.
During the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, UNICEF presented an example of good practice – Metalac, which showed, through its activity “For the furture we grow together”, a positive attitude towards the employees and their families, while contributing to the efforts of the community in the fight against the “white plague”. Metalac Foundation financially rewards each newborn child of their workers, provides scholarships for children of employees who regularly study and actively supports the sports club “Metalac” in which most of the children and youth are training.
“The principles that we promote today must become a guide and inspiration for the entire business world when it comes to their activities concerning children. We believe that joint activities will be able to motivate the business community for more CSR projects for children”, said Marko Čadež, president of PKS.