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Atlas Methodology

The Children’s Rights and Business Atlas uses the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework for Business and Human Rights to assess the risk to business of infringing on children’s rights. The framework rests on three pillars: the primary duty of the state to protect human rights, the responsibility of business to respect human rights, and the provision of effective remedy for victims of human rights violations.

In line with this framework, the Atlas consists of a series of global datasets that analyse and measure the state protection of children’s rights, and the industry respect and support for children’s rights.

The construction of the indices contained within the Atlas involves four main stages:

  • Step 1

    Step 1 Conceptualisation: In-depth research into each of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (the principles) to identify central themes. These principles guide companies on the range of actions that can be taken in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children’s rights. Further background research has been conducted to conceptualise and develop seven discrete index areas.

  • Step 2

    Step 2 Index design: A series of indicators were identified to measure the discrete index areas. Indicators are selected following research into existing standards and benchmarks. Indicators are categorised into three groups:

    • Structural indicators – measuring a state’s commitment to implement its obligations to protect children
    • Process indicators – measuring a state’s capacity to implement its commitment
    • Outcome indicators – capturing reported violations and infringements by both state and non-state actors

  • Step 3

    Step 3 Scoring: Using a detailed questionnaire, in-depth research has been conducted to assess: state protection of children’s rights; industry infringements on children’s rights; and industry respect and support for children’s rights. Indicator questions are answered using a multiple choice scoring framework, such that each indicator question is linked to discrete and well defined answer options.

  • Step 4

    Step 4 Data analysis: Indicator scores are rescaled between zero and ten, and then combined to give a single numerical index score for each country. Index scores are calculated based on how the mean (the average) and the variance (the spread from the average) of the rescaled indicator scores compare to other countries. The outcome group of indicators is weighted twice as heavily as the structure and process groups. This mean-variance approach provides a relative risk assessment that takes account of the broad risk environment in each country (via the mean), and the consistency of that environment (via the variance).

    Ten industry scores are subsequently calculated for each of the 198 countries and territories across seven indices by combining the industry data with the index score. Specifically, the mean of the infringement, respect and support indicator scores is calculated for each country (with a double weighting assigned to the infringement indicator). For each country, the index and industry score are summed to give an industry-adjusted index score for each of the seven risk indices.

Methodology limitations

Conceptual limitations

The Atlas has been developed as a simplified risk assessment tool to help businesses identify and understand the risk of children’s rights violations, and to flag areas for proactive multi-stakeholder engagement. The Atlas is designed to give a broad indication of the risks to children’s rights in the context of business activity, and opportunities for engagement in each country on a global scale. The Atlas expresses national averages, and does not account for socioeconomic inequities of any marginalised groups within countries, nor issues specific to sub-national or disputed regions.

The information from the Atlas may be used to inform a broader human rights due diligence process. The Atlas should be considered as only one of several resources to help companies evaluate children’s rights. Businesses looking to take proactive steps on children’s rights should seek to engage with children’s rights experts and stakeholders – including UNICEF – or directly with national or local governments.

Research limitations

The Atlas is constructed using open-source data and information obtained from third parties sources – all of which are referenced below. The Atlas uses a triangulation approach to cross verify and validate data and information obtained from academic, intergovernmental, governmental and independent (i.e., business or non-governmental) sources. A minimum of three sources were used to score each indicator question. If data or information was unavailable or inconsistent, the indicator may be scored using one source. 

The varying level of coverage across the globe means that data and information may not be consistently available across all 198 countries and territories. Information and data gaps are managed differently for qualitative and quantitative data. Where qualitative indicators lack sufficient country information, the scoring process does not penalise or reward the country’s score. Where quantitative data is missing for a particular country, the indicator is omitted from the country score. Users should refer to the index methodologies for specific information on indicator limitations.