From deforestation to child labor and other urgent risks, companies have a responsibility to build effective human rights and environmental due diligence processes into all of their business practices. The Rainforest Alliance’s Corporate Advisory team is here to guide your company on this journey—and a great place to start is with an Accountability Framework assessment.
The Accountability Framework is a globally respected roadmap to achieving responsible supply chains. Developed collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders—civil society, companies, governments, and technical experts—the Framework offers a comprehensive, consensus-based guide to the benchmarks, definitions, and best-practices needed to build supply chains that are free from deforestation, ecosystem conversion, and human rights violations. Even if a company is already using certification, the Accountability Framework helps them address issues at a company-wide level, including for non-certified volumes and commodities. It can support companies in establishing policies and the systems to implement those policies, reporting on progress, and gathering impact data to back up their commitments, laying all of this out in clear detail.
The Rainforest Alliance co-led the development of the Accountability Framework back in 2019 and continues to engage closely with the organization, serving on its steering committee and as an Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) Delivery Partner. This means our teams at the Rainforest Alliance have in-depth knowledge and experience conducting Framework assessments for large corporations. To date, we have worked with a number of companies across diverse deforestation-risk commodities. With a proven track record of leveraging collaborative partnerships, following industry best practices, and encouraging our companies to do the same—we set the bar high and deliver our projects at that same level.
How the Rainforest Alliance helps companies apply the Accountability Framework
The Rainforest Alliance Corporate Advisory team acts as an extension of your company to help you incorporate the Accountability Framework into your company’s supply chain policies and practices. As an AFi Delivery Partner, our team stays up to date on all of the intricacies of the Framework so that we can give you a comprehensive assessment of your policies and supply chains against the requirements.
What does this look like in practice? We first work with you to understand your current commitments, implementation systems, and monitoring and reporting on deforestation-risk commodities. After gathering this data, we evaluate it against the Framework’s best practices. Where gaps are identified, we put together an action plan with concrete recommendations and guidance resources. For example, let’s say we assessed your company’s current grievance mechanism and found accessibility limitations as well as specific reporting elements missing. We would then recommend systems and practices to put in place, such as additional channels to file grievances, to ensure that the mechanism is more accessible. We’d also share examples of grievance reporting best practices, with a list of information that should be included. Once the plan is delivered, our team coordinates regular check-ins to both provide support on progress made and to identify ways to drive further improvement through our full suite of due diligence offerings.
The benefits of the Accountability Framework for your company due diligence
We recognize that many companies are committed to creating a world where people and nature thrive in harmony, but they need assistance in meeting their responsible sourcing goals. With a wave of new due diligence and disclosure legislation making sustainability a matter of legal compliance, the task can seem even more daunting.
The Accountability Framework offers a clear path forward by helping your company:
- Strengthen supply chain goals and align with industry best practices
Put your company goals and policies in perspective and gain confidence that your company is choosing the appropriate measures. The Rainforest Alliance worked with Procter and Gamble (P&G) to do just that.
“As part of Rainforest Alliance Forest Allies program, the Corporate Advisory team applied the Accountability Framework to assess P&G’s approach to deforestation-risk commodities supply chains. The Framework has helped us assess our sustainability goals, supply chain monitoring, supplier engagement, and non-compliance approaches as part of the evaluation of responsible sourcing programs.”Tonia Elrod, Vice President of Responsible Sourcing, P&G
- Develop more effective implementation processes tailored to your supply chain
Translating goals on paper to action on the ground requires a clear implementation process. The Accountability Framework offers industry-accepted references for traceability, risk assessments, remediation, and restoration processes. The Rainforest Alliance can then help companies adapt these guidelines to their unique supply chains and needs to ensure everything goes smoothly.
- Define concrete next steps in your sustainability journey
Sustainability is a process of continuous improvement, and the Rainforest Alliance helps companies prioritize the best course of action. In 2021, we partnered with the industrial and consumer goods company Henkel, providing recommendations for gaps in their due diligence.
“Working with the Rainforest Alliance team on the Accountability Framework assessment has been of great value to support us in mapping our strengths as well as improvement areas in regard to our due diligence practices. Based on the recommended actions, we feel well advised to further progress on our responsible sourcing journey.”Petra Spallek, Henkel’s Corporate Vice President Purchasing Sustainability
Building responsible supply chains: how to get started
As new regulations around the world go into effect, it’s vital that companies act quickly to ensure their supply chains are free of deforestation and human rights violations. Working with the Rainforest Alliance Corporate Advisory team on an Accountability Framework assessment is a great way to get started.
After, explore how we can build off this assessment with our full range of due diligence offerings:
The Framework assessment is a great starting point to understand major risks in your company’s policies and procedures. To dive deeper, we use our in-depth knowledge of supply chains and deforestation-risk commodities to help companies pinpoint high risk products or evaluate the risk of potential products. By doing so, we can ensure that the appropriate mechanisms are in place to reduce deforestation, ecosystem conversion, biodiversity loss, and human rights risks when sourcing from a specific origin.
Supply chain mapping
Once we have a handle on the risks, the Rainforest Alliance offers in-depth mapping of deforestation-risk commodity supply chains to track the origins of products and actors involved. This mapping exercise improves traceability of products, supports companies to make evidence-backed claims, and allows for targeted supplier engagement that is effective in transforming supply chains.
In alignment with the Framework, we support companies to develop sustainable supply chain policies that set commitments around deforestation, ecosystem conversion, and human rights.
Following Framework assessments and policy development, we support companies to create the necessary mechanisms to meet commitments and targets, including grievance mechanisms, monitoring, dealing with supplier non-compliance, remediation procedures, and more.
Ready to get started? Reach out to the Rainforest Alliance Corporate Advisory team today.
For companies ready to go above and beyond in their sustainability commitments, ask about our Rainforest Alliance Forest Allies initiative—a Framework assessment is included with membership.