Companies’ voluntary supply chain commitments overlay existing obligations based on applicable law.[1] Legal obligations may be created by any legal or policy instrument emanating from legislative, executive, administrative, judicial, or customary sources of authority. Many categories of law bear on company commitments, including but not limited to those governing land allocations and acquisition; land titling, registration, and management; environment and conservation; tax and other revenue-related laws implicated by resource extraction; storage and processing of commodities; transport; export; legal personality; government-adopted lists of prohibited actors;[2] criminal codes; human rights (including the rights of workers, indigenous peoples, local communities, women and others);  remediation, access to remedy, and restoration for harms to the environment.

This document guides companies on how to fulfill their voluntary supply chain commitments in the context of legal obligations that may apply to the same or similar topics to those addressed by commitments.

[1] As specified in the Accountability Framework definitions, applicable law signifies “national and ratified international laws that apply in a given context or situation.” National laws include the laws and regulations of all jurisdictions within a nation (e.g., local, regional, and national). International laws to which nations have acceded are also considered as applicable law.

[2] For example, companies in Brazil must check the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), the Soybean Working Group (GTS) database, and the list maintained by the Government of Brazil for actors that are embargoed due to illegal deforestation or slave labour.

Return to top