What Ethical Trading Initiative?

That was my immediate thought on reading a Guardian article assessing the impact of business on child rights following a live discussion session.

Developed by Unicef, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children, the children’s rights and business principles (the Principles) were designed to help companies incorporate child rights into their practices. With an increasing focus on the social and environmental impacts of business, we gathered a group of experts to discuss how businesses can make the shift from reactive to pro-active when supporting child rights.

As a social business with childcare reform as a primary objective, I might have commented were it possible.

Regrettably I’m blocked from commenting on the Guardian after commenting on an earlier article about ‘Creating Shared Value’ where ironically, I’d given the issue of childcare reform as an illustration of profit for a social purpose rather than what the article advocated, profit from a social purpose. Was it the author or the Guardian who didn’t want to engage?

When I first wrote, Changing Capitalism For People and Planet in 2011,  our founder Terry Hallman was still alive. I offered it first to the Guardian editors for social enterprise and sustainable business.  It ended up as an article for a McKinsey initiative the following year.

After his death, in Every Child Deserves a Loving Family, I’d described how his efforts had influenced goverment policy and led to a 40% increase in domestic adoptions. It had begun buy speaking out about neglect, in ‘Death Camps , For Children’

Just days ago, I was in conversation with a DTI representative on a social networking forum. I referred her to my report on ‘Social Enterprise in Ukraine‘ which revealed our interaction with both US and UK government agencies on our work.  It would reveal how Unicef had turned a wilful blind eye, USAID had no budget for “retarted children” and the British Council, working with USAID and corporate partners had been approached with our proposals and determined to set up a social enterprise project of their own.

I’ve also described how both Ukraine’s constitution and the International Covenanant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights compel us to act where there is harm being done to children and how business membership organisations like the British Ukrainian Society and Business in the Community, locked us out and aligned themselves with Ukraine’s moguls, in the vested interest of trade.

At the top of the festering pile the UK business and EU trade minister of the time, would be found.

So where in all of this does an Ethical Trading Initiative come in?  It is a club who’d have us as members?

Apparently yes, if I pay 900 quid.  And then what, read articles on how to suck eggs, or actually do something?

You’ll forgive me for seeing this as the puffery of a rostrum clinging elite, after a colleague and many children lost their lives,  when they couldn’t be found.


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