What is the Accountability Framework initiative and who is leading it?
The Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) is a collaborative initiative to accelerate progress and improve accountability related to ethical supply chain commitments in agriculture and forestry. The AFi is led by a coalition of 12 international and regional civil society partners, who together comprise the initiative’s Steering Group. The Rainforest Alliance and the Meridian Institute co-host the AFi secretariat. For more information about the AFi, please see About the Accountability Framework.
Whose consensus does the Accountability Framework represent?
The Framework represents the consensus of the 15 AFi Steering Group organizations that participated in its development. These include the 12 current Steering Group members as well as Forest Peoples Programme, Greenpeace International, and Imaflora.
In addition to reflecting the consensus of these 15 civil society partners, the Accountability Framework is firmly grounded in accepted international norms for the topics it addresses, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, International Labour Organization (ILO) Fundamental Conventions, New York Declaration on Forests, and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
What is the Accountability Framework?
The Accountability Framework is a set of common definitions, norms, and guidance that brings greater clarity, consistency, effectiveness, and accountability to the implementation of ethical supply chain commitments. The AFi has developed this Framework – and is now promoting and supporting its use – to advance the AFi’s goal of accelerating progress and improving accountability related to these commitments.
The content of the Framework represents the consensus of all fourteen AFi partners, who advocate for its adoption by supply chain companies (e.g., producers, traders, manufacturers, and retailers), financial institutions, and others involved in agriculture and forestry production and trade. Please click here for an overview of the Framework and to access its contents.
How was the Framework developed?
The Framework was developed through a consultative process led by the AFi Steering Group with participation of and input from a broad range of stakeholders including additional civil society representatives, companies, government representatives, and subject matter experts. Technical content was developed by several working groups whose members represented diverse perspectives from global and national NGOs, service providers, research institutions, and implementation partners involved in supporting ethical supply chains.
Draft Framework materials were presented for multiple rounds of open public consultation, dialogue, and stakeholder engagement in tropical producing regions (Latin America, West and Central Africa, and Southeast Asia) and at a global level. Input from private companies was gathered through workshops, webinars, and one-on-one-consultations.
What was the role of founding members no longer serving on the Steering Group?
As founding members of the Steering Group of the Accountability Framework initiative, Forest Peoples Programme, Greenpeace International, and Imaflora participated in the consensus-building process used to produce Version 1.0 of the Framework in June 2019. All three organizations made significant contributions; for example, Forest Peoples Programme took a lead in drafting several operational guidance documents and advising on matters related to indigenous peoples’ rights specifically, and business and human rights more broadly. The Framework represents the consensus of the 15 AFi Steering Group organizations that participated in its development.
The other members of the Steering Group deeply appreciate the constructive and insightful inputs of these three organizations. The AFi continues to engage with all three of these organizations to explore opportunities to advance our shared objectives.
Who owns the Accountability Framework
The Accountability Framework is a public good that can be freely adopted and adapted by all users.
How will the Accountability Framework be updated, and can this version 1.0 (the June 2019 version) be considered as ‘final’?
The Accountability Framework version 1.0 was launched in June 2019, and is composed of high-level Core Principles, corresponding Operational Guidance, and a set of Terms and Definitions. The norms for ethical supply chains contained within the Core Principles are based on a two-year consensus-building process and are strongly anchored in pre-existing global norms and precedents. Accordingly, these Core Principles are not expected to change significantly in the near future.
As a detailed and practical implementation guide, the Operational Guidance is intended to reflect current best practices, which will continue to evolve based on new technology, innovations, and other developments related to ethical supply chains. In response to these evolving dynamics as well as input from the Framework’s users and other stakeholders, the Operational Guidance documents are expected to be updated and/or augmented periodically. Future updates to the Framework are expected to follow a consultative process similar to that used to develop Framework version 1.0.
Who is providing financial support for the Accountability Framework initiative?
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment (through the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative – NICFI), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the ISEAL Innovations Fund have provided generous support to the Accountability Framework initiative. Funding has also been provided in the past by the SEM Charitable Trust.
The AFi is not funded by, nor does it seek funding from, private companies.