New Partnerships and Progress on Social Accountability

The Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) extends a warm welcome to the AFi’s newest Steering Group members: Social Accountability International (SAI) and Verité!

Social Accountability International (SAI) is a NYC-based non-profit working to promote the human rights of workers worldwide. SAI’s work includes the development of standards, including the SA8000 standard and the Social Fingerprint for measuring and improving company social performance, as well as guidance and tool kits around labor and other human rights issues, and they are contributors to the UN Global Compact and the UNGPs. Verité is a global, independent non-profit that conducts research, advocacy, consulting, trainings and assessment to promote safe, fair and legal working conditions worldwide.

Together with other AFi partners, SAI and Verité developed the AFi’s new Core Principle B2 on Workers’ Rights, which is now available for public consultation. This new Core Principle covers key workers’ rights issues such as child labor, forced labor, freedom of association, living wage, and fair benefits.

The AFi’s approach on human rights issues is solidly rooted in key international human rights norms and instruments, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the International Labour Organization’s Core Conventions. The initiative seeks to help deliver on these important frameworks by providing companies and other stakeholders with a common integrated approach and good practices related to supply chain management, monitoring, verification, reporting, and other functions that cross-cut environmental and social topics. The Framework’s guidance on these topics builds on existing good-practice tools and approaches already in use.

Beyond the recently developed elements on workers’ rights, the Accountability Framework also specifies approaches companies can take to ensure respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Specific guidance on human rights topics is provided in the several draft Operational Guidance sections that are currently available for public consultation. These include the guidance documents on:

  • Respecting rights of indigenous peoples and local communities
  • Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)
  • Remediation and access to remedy (including effective grievance mechanisms)
  • Relationship between voluntary commitments and applicable law
  • Applying voluntary commitments in context (addressing stakeholder engagement and landscape and jurisdictional initiatives)

In the coming months, the AFi partners will be working to develop additional detailed guidance around these issues, in consultation with other stakeholders. Please participate in the consultation process to share your ideas and help shape the further development of the Framework as an effective tool for delivering on ethical supply chain commitments.