The Centre for Child Rights and Business (The Centre) Working Group has been running since 2009, providing companies with a platform to learn, share and collectively take action to solve some of the most pressing child rights issues in supply chains today. Since then, the group has grown into a 20+ strong collaborative platform whose members represent major brands, global retailers and companies spanning numerous industry sectors.
The Centre is delighted to have recently welcomed Mekong Timber Plantations (MTP) as a new working group member, becoming the first company in Laos to join our working group.
Mr. Phonesavanh Chindamany, acting Head of Sustainability, explained:
“Joining Working Group complements some of our most significant initiatives within MTP, including our work with village representatives, our staff, and contractors about child’s rights and implementing policies surrounding the protection of vulnerable children in the communities where we operate”.
Mekong Timber Plantations has been working with The Centre since 2018. Our collaboration began with a child rights risk and impact assessment, which enabled MTP to understand how their operations was impacting children, what it meant for their business, and how to address potential risks and maximize their child rights performance. This paved the way towards the implementation of a Child Labour Remediation and Youth Inclusion programme in Laos, which was implemented in 2019 over a six-month period. This programme entailed building the capacity of plantation management to create decent work opportunities for youth by creating a safe and enabling environment where young workers are assigned to tasks suitable for their age groups, have access to skills enhancement training and are responsibly managed. Another element of the programme was establishing a child labour prevention and remediation mechanism and strengthening the company’s capacity to address child labour risks and creating stronger linkages to local communities so as to create decent work and training opportunities for marginalised youth. Our collaboration continued in 2020, when the youth inclusion programme entered into a new phase, with a new batch of young workers benefitting from training activities on grievance mechanisms at MTP, basic environmental knowledge, critical and creative thinking and soft communication skills conducted by The Centre.
This next chapter in MTP’s collaboration with The Centre demonstrates their commitment to ensuring the ongoing protection of child rights in their business operations. Through their participation in the working group, MTP will gain priority access to The Centre’s services and teams to address child rights issues, along with access to up-to-date data and insights related to child rights, resources and campaigns.
Commenting on MTP joining the working group, Ines Kaempfer at The Centre said:
“We are delighted to welcome Mekong Timber Plantations as a new working group member which serves as a demonstration of the company’s ongoing commitment to address risks and advance child rights. We look forward to working with Mekong Timber Plantations to support child rights in the timber sector in Laos, as we continue to welcome new companies from a growing list of sectors to the working group”.
To learn more about our working group or to discuss how membership can benefit your company, please contact us.
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