UNICEF

Eleven Apparel and Footwear Factories in Viet Nam Take the Extra Mile for Children

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sustainble biz_for_CR_680Mr Jesper Moller, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Viet Nam said "The footwear and apparel industry employs around 3.5 million workers in Viet Nam, 80% of whom are young women and most of them have migrated from rural areas to take factory job". © UNICEF Viet Nam\2017\Louis Vigneault-Dubois

HO CHI MINH CITY (VIET NAM), 30 November 2017 – UNICEF and eleven factories in the footwear and apparel sector in Viet Nam have launched today the “Children’s Rights in the Workplace Programme for Footwear and Apparel Manufacturers” to look specifically at improving the wellbeing of children, working parents, and young workers.  The programme was launched during an event co-hosted by UNICEF and Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on “Sustainable Business for Children: Promoting Children’s Rights in the  Footwear and Apparel Sector”. As part of the initial activities, factories will undergo awareness raising sessions on the 12 identified impact areas. UNICEF will also roll out the awareness raising campaign 60 minutes working as a mum that was developed in partnership with iCare Benefits and the Purpose Group to increase awareness on breastfeeding in workplace among workers and to encourage management to introduce policies to support breastfeeding workers.

“The footwear and apparel industry employs around 3.5 million workers in Viet Nam, 80% of whom are young women and most of them have migrated from rural areas to take factory jobs.” said Jesper Moller, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Viet Nam. “Therefore, those businesses impact millions of children, both directly and indirectly through the policies and practices for their workers. I commend the participating factories for recognizing the role that they play and for committing to take action and to become new child rights advocates.”

Group photo of UNICEF staff and representatives from the factories shared their current policies to support working parents, children and their thoughts on the role of various stakeholders. © UNICEF Viet NamGroup photo of UNICEF staff and representatives from the factories shared their current policies to support working parents, children and their thoughts on the role of various stakeholders. © UNICEF Viet Nam

This progamme launched is supported by UNICEF and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Resoponsibility (CCR-CSR). “The promotion of child rights by businesses will contribute towards the achievement of the objectives set out in the National Action Plan on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, said Mr. Tran Ngoc Liem, Deputy Director of VCCI Ho Chi Minh City Branch

Today’s launch event brought together representatives from the business community (factories, industry associations, brands, vendors), government, international and non-profit organizations to raise awareness on how businesses in the footwear and apparel sector can minimize their risks and maximize their opportunities through global guidance on respecting and supporting children’s rights. The guidance is outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and further elaborated in the Children’s Rights and Business Principles developed by UNICEF, the Global Compact and Save the Children.

Mr Yao Cheng Wu, Director of Pou Yuen Vietnam – one of the participating manufacturers – explained at the event that the company’s factory in Ho Chi Minh City currently employs 74,000 workers, 80% of whom are women and on average they have 400 children born  every month. This means that Pou Yuen has an opportunity to directly contribute to the welfare of more than 4,500 children per year through family-friendly workplace programs and policies.

“We have seen that businesses who use their leverage to support and promote the rights of children can have an immense positive impact on the lives of children and become an accelerator for children’s rights” stressed Ms. Ines Kaempfer, Executive Director of Center for Child Rights and Corporate Sustainability during her presentation.

UNICEF works closely with companies, business associations, brands, relevant government departments, non-profit organizations, youth groups, academia and other UN agencies to promote children’s rights and business in the country. During the event, representatives from the factories shared their current policies to support working parents, children and their thoughts on the role of various stakeholders – brands, industry associations, government and NGOs in promoting children’s rights within the sector.

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