"Children Are Future Business Leaders"
    Category: Philanthropy By : Jeffrey Hutton Read : 1191 Date : Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 18:36:04

    Toto Santiko Budi for Forbes Indonesia

    Mark Makepeace, chief executive and founder of the FTSE Group, a London-based index company, has made a personal and corporate commitment to end child labor and encourage good CSR by working with UNICEF and promoting the FTSE4Good index that identifies environmentally and socially responsible companies. Makepeace meet with Forbes Indonesia at the Ritz-Carlton, Kuningan on the morning after speaking in Jakarta in October to highlight the FTSE Group's involvement with UNICEF and its efforts to help the organization's campaign against child labor.

    How are companies dealing with the issue of child labor?

    UNICEF has put this on the agenda for companies, and companies are taking this up. You're seeing 40 companies from 22 countries seriously taking this on board. A third of the world's population is under 18, therefore it not only has a big impact today but also for tomorrow. Children are future business leaders

    Is caring about children a competitive advantage?

    Companies are looking at ways to support the community—the mothers and children that are the customers. IKEA has changed its shops, for example, to provide areas for breastfeeding. Consumers are choosey. Mothers are influential when it comes to buying decisions. If you don't cater to them or show you're insensitive to their issues you put yourself at a disadvantage.

    What are the benefits for FTSE Group's association with UNICEF?

    It brings so many benefits. It has helped deepen the relationship with clients and establish the brand in a stronger light: integrity, being global, being consultative, trusted, having authority. These are qualities that by working with UNICEF help bring them all together. We recognized those values in UNICEF. The more you work with it the more you see those values expressed in the brand. People associate your brand with those values if you live by those values.

    How do you encourage companies to apply CSR?

    We set standards and practices that make it easier for companies to implement CSR. The FTSE4Good monitors a company's strategies, and policies for managing their impact on society. It establishes systems for monitoring progress. It provides that framework for companies and makes it easier for them to compare their performance to their peers.

    Deforestation is a major issue. Is there an opportunity for FTSE4Good there?

    We're not at that level of granularity. Not all palm oil producers are listed so we don't have access to all the data. We do this on a global basis. We cover the largest 6,000 or so companies in the world. We can measure how they perform in a certain industry or peer group. That's powerful. They've never had that before.