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Social responsibility

War Child works to inspire and socially activate people in support of the organisation’s goals. As an NGO working to improve the lives of children affected by armed conflict, War Child plays an important role in mobilising local communities in programme countries, the general public in the Netherlands, and the international community, to take up their responsibilities to ensure the rights of children.

Although we do not have an overall social responsibility policy, War Child’s operations are guided by a set of policies, guidelines, and standards such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Global Compact Code for multinational enterprises. In addition, War Child has an internal Child Safety Policy based on internationally recognised standards for safeguarding children. War Child fundraises within the framework of ethical guidelines in relation to corporate sponsors, ensuring their practices do not interfere with War Child’s mission and vision.

Rights-based approach

War Child continued to strengthen the application of human rights values and principles at all levels of the organisation in 2013. By increasingly promoting participation, accountability and non-discrimination in its internal policies and procedures as well as in its programming, War Child continues to demonstrate its commitment towards becoming a rights-based organisation.

Child safety

War Child is committed to the protection of children from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual violence,” as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 19; 1989). A Child Safety Policy ensures that War Child’s staff is aware of potential child safety concerns and engages in behaviour that prevents abuse. The policy also ensures that staff knows how to respond in case abuse does happen. The Child Safety Policy is signed by and applies to all staff, volunteers, partner organisations, board members, ambassadors and representatives of War Child. We make sure all children and young people who come into contact with War Child understand our commitment to keeping children safe, and know how to report any cases or suspicions of any form of abuse.

Environmental impact

We are dedicated to decreasing our energy consumption and carbon footprint. The measures War Child takes to limit its impact on the environment include:

  • strictly regulating air travel to limit carbon dioxide emission and to save costs;

  • stimulating the use of public transportation by fully covering commuting costs for public transportation and providing only a limited coverage of expenses for car usage;

  • purchasing FSC-certified paper in accordance with ISO 14001 norms;

  • reducing paper use by installing printers with the start function on the machine rather than from a distance, which has substantially reduced printing;

  • recycling materials by, for example, purchasing second hand furniture for the new office rather than new materials.

We’ve also reduced our energy consumption by moving to a building with much better insulation, air circulation and climate regulation. The shift to the universal use of laptops has also reduced paper consumption by more than 50 percent. We have installed teleconference and videoconference facilities to compensate for reduced travelling and less face-to-face contact. Better insulation, excellent light from outside and inside lights activated by infrared sensors in our new office will lead to savings on electricity and heating.

Our new head office is accessible and useable for disabled people; there are elevators in the building and an adapted toilet. The new office building is also in better compliance with the Health and Safety requirements; all desks and seats are adjustable.

Lessons learnt

The move of our head office in Amsterdam contributed to improving our compliance with the social responsibility standards to which War Child adheres. We used the momentum of the move to relook at printer facilities and travel policies. We also leaned to remain aware of the way we work, both from an environmental and a cost perspective, rather than blindly following routine and habit.

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