Communications and Claims Related to the Accountability Framework
During initial consultations in early- and mid-2017, several companies and other stakeholders have inquired as to whether and how they may publicly communicate their support for or adherence to the Accountability Framework. This page addresses these questions.
- As the Framework is being developed in 2017 and into 2018, the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) partners encourage companies to publicly communicate their support for the AFi and their interest or intent to adhere to the Framework once it is published. The AFi partners also welcome NGOs, governmental entities, other supply chain-related initiatives, and other types of stakeholders to publicly communicate their support.
- Because the Accountability Framework is not being designed as a compliance standard or a certification scheme, the AFi does not intend to develop an assurance mechanism to audit organizations’ compliance with the Framework. Accordingly, organizations applying or referencing the Accountability Framework should not claim or imply that the AFi or its partner organizations have verified that the organization complies with the Framework or has responsible supply chains.
- However, the AFi partners anticipate that the Framework, once published, may be used as a benchmark against which organizations can assess their progress in setting and implementing effective commitments on deforestation, land conversion, and human rights in responsible supply chains. This benchmarking function may also help in harmonizing the ways in which monitoring, tracking, and reporting initiatives assess progress per company and more broadly across sectors, regions, and worldwide. Additional guidance developed for the Accountability Framework’s Operational Manual and supporting tools in 2018 will further specify potential uses of the Framework for company self-assessment and benchmarking. This guidance will also clarify what kind of statements or claims may be made based on such assessments.
- By defining common, good-practice approaches for traceability, management of non-compliances, monitoring, verification, reporting, and other key implementation functions, the Accountability Framework is also intended to help to improve the credibility of claims made on the basis of other tools and systems that adhere to the Framework. Further guidance on such options will be developed in the coming months in consultation with these other tools and systems and with companies interested in credibly documenting their implementation actions and outcomes and in making associated claims.
The AFi partners invite input on the topic of communications and claims as part of the present public consultation period running through December 11, 2017. To share your input, please visit the public consultation page or go directly to the feedback form for general input.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The logo of the Accountability Framework or its partner organizations may not be used without the express written permission of the Accountability Framework initiative or each respective partner organization.