HM The Queen's closing speech at Global Child Forum 2022
The Royal Palace, Stockholm
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Your Royal Highnesses,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to close the Global Child Forum 2022.
First, I want to thank you for your attendance today. Listening to today’s speakers and discussions has further strengthened my belief that business is, and can be, an agent of change.
Today we have tackled challenging and diverse topics, mainly focussed on the tech and telecom sector and the consumer goods sector.
One of those topics was the risks to children within supply chains. According to UNICEF, at the beginning of 2020, roughly 160 million children were involved in child labour, but due to the impact of COVID, an additional 9 million children are now at risk. This accounts for nearly 1 in 10 children worldwide. But there are ways that companies can, and must, do better to manage their supply chains. Some of these were discussed today.
We also looked at children as consumers and how their unique vulnerabilities must be considered in policies, product development, and marketing. One of the key findings from the food, beverage, and personal care benchmark is that good practice for product safety and marketing is lacking.
We have also explored a topic close to my heart – how to balance the opportunities and risks to children online. The benchmark report released earlier this year focused on the tech & telecom sector, and today we addressed critical issues around privacy and mental health.
As you know, children worldwide are affected by business activities every day. While certain aspects of this may be alarming, we must also remember that many of those interactions are positive.
Technological advances bring opportunities to children. The consumer goods sector provide products that make lives better. And many companies are good ambassadors, offering opportunities and different kinds of support to their community.
But, as the Global Child Forum benchmarks continue to show, there is still much room for improvement!
Today we also heard from the financial sector. By engaging with companies and shifting capital from non-child-friendly companies to child-friendly ones, the financial sector can play a vital role in creating a better world for children. And Global Child Forum has the data to help the industry make the right decisions.
So, Global Child Forum has the tools.
You have the means.
Now we need to find the way.
When His Majesty opened the Forum this morning, he spoke about the North Star and how it lights our way.
Looking out the window now, the day has certainly become much darker than this morning. But I do hope that today, at this Forum, you have found your light that will help you go forward.
Thank you to our partners, speakers, and knowledgeable collaborators whom we lean on for guidance and support.
And a special thank you to you, our participants, for all that you do to support the lives and futures of children and young people worldwide!