Sustainability and corporate social responsibility


The companies concerned here have ethical values at the core of their business, focusing primarily on sustainability, but also Corporate Social Responsibility. Some endevour to work ethically and for a sustainable future, while others have corporate goals that are focused directly on human rights issues. A few have strategies aimed directly at addressing children’s rights.

Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) promotes acting ethically within legal boundaries, but it goes further than that. CSR also concerns identifying issues that are not illegal, but unethical, and creating a framework to make sure that the company acts ethically on those issues, with the end goal of contributing to a better world.

“More and more companies acknowledge that it is important to take responsibility and contribute to make the world better.”

Children’s rights

The focus of children’s rights in sustainability work is typically focused on child labour, however the interviewed companies understand that child sexual abuse (CSA) clearly falls within the issue of children’s rights, and believe that acting on the issue aligns well with their ethical values.

“As a big company we have a corporate social responsibility, and a possibility to make a positive impact on society. On the issue of child sexual abuse, we can contribute by preventing and disrupting these crimes as far as it is possible from a business perspective.”

Frameworks for sustainability

There are several big frameworks that influence work on sustainability, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Global Compact and UN Declaration of Human Rights, and the World Health Organisation Guidelines on Human Rights. There is also ISO certification 26000, which provides guidelines for businesses and organisations committed to operating in a socially responsible way.

“Child sexual abuse is a child rights issue and we can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and to safeguarding children. Therefore it is logical to have this on the agenda.”

Demands on suppliers

Another important aspect mentioned by the interviewed companies is the ethical demands that are placed on them by their customers, and that they in turn place on their suppliers, subcontractors, and other stakeholders, as part of the business value chain. Whereas these demands don’t specify working against child sexual abuse material (CSAM), they create a drive for companies to make sure that they act decisively within their own organisation.

“Taking steps to ensure that CSAM cannot be distributed or consumed on our IT equipment is a very concrete way to take action that we could not do in any other way.”

Another company states that they want to be a sustainable organisation, which includes adhering to human rights, protecting vulnerable groups, and trying to prevent crime. Making sure that their IT equipment cannot be used for illegal activities is a very concrete way to further this cause.

Sustainability reports

The interviewed companies are not unified in their decisions on whether to include detection of CSAM in their sustainability reports or not. A couple of the companies have made the decision to separate the issue from their other sustainability work, and do not mention it. Others do the opposite and clearly state that they are taking action to contribute to the issue and prevent CSA.

Comment to insight 7, 8 & 9

More results from the NetClean Report 2020