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.
Companies conduct or support responsible practices in land acquisition, land-use planning, and site development, commensurate with their role in the value chain. These actions are critical to help fulfill commitments related to forests and other natural ecosystems (Core Principle 1) and respect for land rights (Core Principle 2.2). Companies seeking to develop or acquire interests in land – and those that support or finance such activities – are most directly responsible for applying these practices. Downstream companies linked to the subject areas ensure that these practices are applied by their suppliers.
Prior to any land or infrastructure development or any significant change in land management or land designation (e.g., company acquisition of interests in land or natural resources, or the development of forest harvest plans), the company conducts or supports an integrated and participatory assessment and land-use planning process, as follows.
- The assessment follows a sequential analysis and decision process, beginning with initial due diligence, followed by impact assessment, and proceeding only if indicated by the outcomes of these initial steps.
- In the case of ongoing land conflicts, the company ceases efforts to acquire or gain control of land or resources related to these conflicts until they are addressed through a mutually-agreed negotiation process consistent with applicable law.
- Assessment and planning processes use recognised and technically-sound approaches to identify the conservation and community values of land, assess land tenure, evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed activities, and design plans to minimize negative impacts and mitigate unavoidable impacts. These processes consider social and environmental aspects together and in relation to one another, are conducted in a transparent manner, and actively provide for the participation of potentially affected indigenous peoples, local communities, and other stakeholders.
- Where activities may affect indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights, land, resources, territories, livelihoods, and food security, the FPIC of these groups is secured as part of the integrated land-use planning process, and any resulting plans are based on the negotiated outcomes of the FPIC and land use planning processes.
In contexts where commitments to eliminate deforestation or natural ecosystem conversion may conflict with the self-determined land-use plans or intentions of indigenous peoples and local communities with rights over such lands, companies follow the Operational Guidance on Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to determine if and how they can fulfill applicable commitments in the given context.
As a result of the land assessment and planning process – and prior to initiating any activities – effective mechanisms are put in place to foster the long-term protection and management of any areas of importance for conservation or indigenous peoples or local communities. These mechanisms are documented in writing, agreed upon by the involved parties, and specify the roles and obligations of the company, affected peoples and communities, and other relevant entities in the landscape.
Companies that develop or acquire interests in land fulfill the elements of this Principle across the entire company (which is defined to include corporate groups). Buyers require their suppliers to fulfill the elements of this Principle across their entire company.
 Such approaches include High Conservation Value (HCV), integrated High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA)/HCV analyses, or similar multi-objective conservation-based planning methods; FPIC processes and associated land use and land tenure assessments congruent with the Accountability Framework and other credible guidance; Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) conducted consistent with applicable law and best practice in participatory, multi-disciplinary planning and impact assessment; and assessment of previous protected area status and potential Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement (PADDD) processes. These and other approaches should be used in combination, as part of the integrated assessment and planning process, to analyse and adequately address all relevant social and environmental issues and impacts.