PVH, Adidas, Gildan Activewear, Next, Gap and H&M have received top marks in a report ranking companies on how they manage and disclose risks of child labour use and children's rights violations in their operations and supply chains.

Some 14 out of the 452 assessed companies got top marks in the Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) Children's Rights Disclosure Rating this year.

NBIM performs an annual assessment of whether companies in its portfolio are exposed to child labour and children's rights risks, and are disclosing information in-line with the NBIM Investor Expectations on Children's Rights.

These expectations include: preventing the worst forms of child labor, including hazardous working conditions that may physically or mentally damage children; sustaining the minimum age standard; promoting child welfare; and using governance structures to facilitate realistic strategies and responses to the management of child labor and children's rights.

"Failure to manage social and environmental risks may over time hurt company profits and the fund's investments," said Anne Kvam, NBIM's global head of ownership policy."

NBIM has identified three areas of particular concern that it wants to address - children's rights, climate change and water scarcity. Kvam said that while its findings show a slight improvement in how businesses reported on these risks in 2011, the overall level of reporting is sill far too low.

"Child labour that prevents children from getting an education or otherwise harms their rights holds back sustainable development," added Kvam.

This article was originally published on 2 April.