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Public Consultation Period Opens on New Accountability Framework

Ten leading environmental and social NGOs are collaborating to develop a global Accountability Framework to accelerate and guide the implementation of ethical supply chain commitments related to reducing deforestation and protecting human rights.

The Accountability Framework initiative, led by a coalition of leading environmental and social NGOs announces the opening of the public consultation period on the Framework’s core document to help drive commitments to ethical supply chains. The Framework is the first of its kind, representing a common voice of leading NGOs to clarify key elements for establishing, implementing, and monitoring credible and effective supply chain commitments. The coalition is comprised of Forest Peoples Programme, Greenpeace, Imaflora, National Wildlife Federation, Proforest, Rainforest Alliance, Rights and Resources Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund.

The aim of the Accountability Framework is to accelerate progress and improve accountability on ethical supply chain commitments to halt deforestation, protect natural ecosystems, and safeguard human rights in the agriculture and forestry sectors. In doing so, it will contribute to delivering on key global pledges and targets such as the New York Declaration of Forests, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Public input is welcome through the e-consultation platform.

Impetus for Action

Growing public concern regarding climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, and human exploitation has elevated corporate responsibility to an urgent imperative. Hundreds of forward- thinking business leaders have pledged to transform their agriculture and forestry production systems and supply chains to protect ecosystems, people, and communities.

However, clarity around how to implement commitments is still lacking, despite the proliferation of tools and initiatives intended to help. In this context, the Accountability Framework aims to break down two critical barriers to progress:

  1. the lack of clarity and harmonization among different systems and initiatives to support implementation of commitments;
  2. the need for additional tools and guidance on specific aspects of implementation, such as supply chain management, smallholder engagement, and the monitoring, verification, and reporting of progress towards commitments.

Creating Clarity And Consistency For Companies

The Accountability Framework initiative was launched in December 2016 by a coalition of leading environmental and social NGOs with broad expertise and on-the-ground experience in addressing deforestation, social accountability, and land rights issues related to commodity production and trade. The Framework includes definitions related to deforestation and the conversion of natural ecosystems,

as well as guidance on traceability and supply chain management, smallholders, verification, monitoring and reporting, remediation and remedy, and other key topics. The Framework’s core document will guide companies in setting and implementing strong commitments, and will be complemented by an Operational Manual with commodity and geographically-specific details in 2018.

The Framework is not a new standard, but is the first undertaking of its kind by leading NGOs to provide a common voice to clarify key elements for establishing, implementing, and monitoring credible and effective supply chain commitments. To avoid duplication, the initiative is also working closely with a range of other initiatives, tools, and systems to support responsible supply chains – for instance, the work of the Collaboration for Forests in Agriculture (CFA) to develop deforestation-free production and sourcing approaches in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado regions and the Chaco of Paraguay and Argentina.

“The Accountability Framework will provide a common approach to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of efforts to implement ethical supply chain commitments,” said Nigel Sizer, President of the Rainforest Alliance. “Additionally, it will accelerate progress, foster transparency and better enable companies to track their progress as they accomplish important milestones.”

The Accountability Framework Initiative Seeks Public Input

From October 10th to December 11th, the Accountability Framework partners welcome public feedback on the draft core document. This input will be used to help refine the Framework, ensuring it broadly represents stakeholder views on responsible supply chains and is practical and useful for companies, NGOs, governments and others to help accelerate progress on the ground. Interested people and organizations are encouraged to participate through the e-consultation platform or by participating in an in-person consultation event. To view the draft Framework, provide feedback, and subscribe to future updates on the Accountability Framework initiative, visit https://accountability-framework.org/.

Forest canopy - photo by Sergio Izquierdo

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