Interview Nichole Brown

Better Communities

“If you don’t invest in the younger generation, then there really is no future.”

Nichole Brown
Chief Corporate and Foundation Partnerships

In 2011, the partnership between UNICEF and ING was renewed for another three years. Nichole Brown, UNICEF’s Chief Corporate and Foundation Partnerships, sees businesses like ING as a natural partner with whom to pursue a shared value: to help build a world in which the rights of every child are realised.

UNICEF’s broad mandate includes immunisation, nutrition, girls’ education, HIV/AIDS prevention and other areas that impact children’s rights. “It may sound cliché, but if you don’t invest in the younger generation, then there really is no future. We see children as the backbone of society and vital to the functioning of the economy.”

Brown argues that private sector partners can help UNICEF achieve its goal of providing children with access to basic services. The private sector not only adds financial clout, but also provides marketing power and fresh ways of thinking. Brown recognises that business have legitimate commercial and brand goals, and believes that the challenge is to find ways to balance them with UNICEF’s programmatic priorities.

ING and UNICEF started their global partnership in 2005 and have built a solid relationship based on deep, personal commitment. “I had the opportunity to travel with the ING team last year on a field trip; everyone was moved by what they had experienced and felt it was a privilege to come and see the work that is being done in the field to help to improve the lives of children.”

Renewing the partnership with ING was significant to UNICEF. “We don’t have many banking partners globally and to be able to rely on a consistent partnership with ING throughout the financial crisis was very important for us.” Brown adds that UNICEF and ING now plan to jointly develop initiatives in such areas as entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy for young people.

This would complement UNICEF’s work on the ‘Children’s Rights and Business Principles’. Developed together with the UN Global Compact and Save the Children, these principles provide businesses with guidance on how to incorporate child rights into their business operations. “Companies wonder how to deal with child labour, for example. It’s a complex issue that requires very comprehensive and multi-faceted solutions.” The principles have now been finalised and released. ING provided input on the principles in order to make the them actionable for private businesses.