Operational Guidance on:
Achieving Commitments Through Collaboration
Purpose & Summary
This document provides guidance on how companies should collaborate with other stakeholders in the landscapes, jurisdictions, and sectors in which they operate to implement their commitments effectively. It also suggests specific ways for companies to pursue such collaboration. The purpose of this collaboration is to address social and environmental issues that are beyond companies’ full control and to contribute to broader and longer-lasting positive impact. Specifically, such collaboration can help companies be better able to:
- Fulfil their commitments
- Demonstrate progress and compliance related to their commitments
- Reduce legal, regulatory, and reputational risk related to deforestation, conversion, and human rights violations occurring outside but in the vicinity of their operations and sourcing areas
- Support larger-scale and longer-term social and environmental improvements on the ground
- Ensure that company efforts to address deforestation, conversion, and human rights violations in their operations and supply chains do not displace these impacts to other areas
Following an introduction that explains the role of companies in working to resolve deforestation, conversion, and human rights challenges beyond their full control, the guidance elaborates good practice and examples illustrating:
- How companies may engage with government, peer companies, and other stakeholders to address elements of their commitments beyond their full control (for instance, land governance or enforcement of forest protections)
- How companies may utilise jurisdictional governance or monitoring initiatives to help fulfil – and demonstrate fulfilment of – their voluntary commitments
Collaboration can support effective implementation and monitoring of commitments in support of several aspects of the Accountability Framework. In particular, this guidance is intended to support and align with the Framework’s Operational Guidance on Supply Chain Management and Operational Guidance on Monitoring and Verification in addition to elements related to the protection of human rights, halting deforestation and conversion, and fostering long-term protection of natural ecosystems.
Topics in this Guidance
Implementation and fulfilment of company supply chain commitments is almost always affected by – and should be informed by – the geographic, political, social, economic, and institutional contexts where commodities are produced, traded, and financed. Company commitments, actions, and monitoring processes related to ethical supply chains often intersect with dynamics beyond the company’s control, such as those driven or impacted by policies, programs, and actions undertaken by other companies, government entities, communities, and other actors. While companies may be able to effectively address certain aspects of their commitments on their own (through actions taken at the level of production units or through supply chain management), other issues may require or benefit from consideration of the broader context and the other actors and actions that shape it. For this reason, companies often need to collaborate with other stakeholders to effectively implement and achieve commitments to protect forests and other natural ecosystems and respect human rights.
Core Principle 10 and other sections of the Accountability Framework outline ways in which companies may work with other stakeholders to achieve their supply chain commitments, including through broader adoption of responsible production and trade practices and by creating enabling conditions that support positive outcomes at scale. These efforts may be conducted pre-competitively in ways that do not violate anti-collusion laws or practices.
Section 2 of this guidance provides guidance on the different ways that companies may collaborate to address issues beyond their full control, through both place-based and sectoral initiatives. Section 3 provides additional guidance specifically on the use of landscape- or jurisdiction-level initiatives, programs, and monitoring systems to help demonstrate fulfilment of supply chain commitments.
Box 1: Landscape, jurisdictional, and sectoral initiatives
Landscape approaches involve collaboration of stakeholders in a landscape to reconcile and optimize multiple social, economic, and environmental objectives across multiple economic sectors and land uses. Landscape approaches are implemented through processes of integrated landscape management that convene diverse stakeholders to develop and implement land-use plans, policies, projects, investments, and other interventions to advance landscape sustainability goals.
Jurisdictional approaches are a type of landscape approach that are developed within the administrative boundaries of sub-national or national governments, usually with emphasis on the roles of government in public policy, land-use planning, law enforcement, investment, or other functions.
Sectoral initiatives bring together multiple actors associated with a particular commodity sector to establish common goals or objectives, develop plans, and take action to overcome challenges particular to the given sector. Sectoral initiatives may be limited to specific groups of stakeholders (e.g., only producers or only private companies at multiple supply chain stages) or they may involve multi-stakeholder engagement including civil society and government representatives.