Core Principles that define key elements of a strong company commitment related to the AFI’s environmental and social scope.
For setting, implementing and monitoring effective commitments on deforestation, ecosystem conversion, and human rights in ethical supply chains
Organization of the Core Principles
Core Principles that define key elements for implementing commitments across all stages of the supply chain.
Core Principles that define key elements for monitoring and reporting on supply chain commitments.
To compare your company’s commitments with the Accountability Framework, see the Commitment Assessment Tool here.
Company commitments apply broadly across the company to address the social and environmental risks that may arise as a result of the company’s own operations, sourcing, and financing related to agricultural and forestry commodities. Broad scope is essential if commitments are to drive transformative change while minimising displaced impacts.
- Commitments apply to all segments of the company for which these commodities may pose environmental or social risks; their scope is not limited to specific markets, product lines, ownerships, or geographies.
- If commitments do not apply to the entire business related to these commodities, then the commitments clearly specify the products, operations, and financial transactions that are included in and excluded from the scope. The defined scope is justified by a credible risk analysis demonstrating that the excluded portions are not subject to environmental or social risks.
3.2 Verifiable actions and time-bound targets
Company commitments include publicly stated time-bound targets and milestones that reflect the urgency of addressing the subject environmental and social issues. These targets and milestones are specific, quantitative, and can be objectively evaluated and verified.
- For each aspect of its commitments, the company publicly specifies time-bound and geographically- specific targets and milestones.
- Targets related to halting deforestation and conversion specify achievement of commitments as quickly as is feasible, while also recognizing differing capacities for implementation and the importance of emphasizing inclusion (especially of smallholders) to achieve scale and ensure lasting change. Company targets reference and align with applicable broader goals or targets, such as the New York Declaration on Forests or sector-wide commitments, whichever are earlier.
- Company commitments related to human rights recognize the obligation to fully respect human rights at all times. Where certain economic, social or cultural human rights commitments may require progressive realization, the company identifies these circumstances and specifies time-bound milestones for the implementation, monitoring, and full respect for these rights.
- If implementation will be phased across different product groups, business segments, or levels of suppliers (e.g., direct and indirect), a time-bound implementation schedule is specified per segment. This sequencing prioritizes areas for which adverse environmental and social impacts are likely to be the most significant. Prioritization may also consider where there is the greatest potential for positive impact.
- Stated targets, milestones, and associated indicators and metrics are specific enough so that progress and claims can be objectively assessed, both internally (within the company and its supply-base) and by external parties.
- Targets, milestones, and indicators are reviewed periodically with relevant stakeholders and revised if necessary (but not weakened) so that they continue to define meaningful progress trajectories in the present context. In the case that time-bound targets or milestones are not being or have not been met, the company should continue to reference such targets, work expeditiously to fulfil them, and monitor and report progress as specified in Core Principles 11 and 12.
3.3 Terminology and definitions
Company commitments reference and apply common terminology and definitions. Commitments can be understood and monitored only if key concepts are clearly defined. Use of common terminology avoids duplicative efforts to define terms and helps establish comparable performance indicators and data for monitoring and verification.
- Commitments reference and utilize the common definitions of the Accountability Framework and, where applicable, contextualized definitions that are aligned with the Framework.
- These common definitions are applied in all relevant aspects of business and supply chain management, such as supplier contracts and oversight, procurement, monitoring, and reporting.
3.4 Relationship between company commitments and applicable law
In addition to their voluntary commitments, companies comply with applicable law.
- Where there are discrepancies between voluntary commitments, applicable law, and instruments related to internationally-recognized human rights, the highest standard is the reference point for fulfilling company obligations around ethical supply chains.