FAQS about the AFi

Frequently Asked Questions about the Accountability Framework and the AFi

1. What is the Accountability Framework initiative? 

The Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) is a collaborative initiative to accelerate progress and improve accountability for ethical supply chains in agriculture and forestry. “Ethical supply chains” refer to commodity production, trade, and finance that are free from recent deforestation or conversion and that fully respect the rights of indigneous peoples, local communities, and workers. 

2. Who is behind the Accountability Framework initiative? 

The AFi is led by a diverse civil society coalition that includes members from both global organizations and tropical countries and brings deep expertise on environmental and human rights issues. The AFi coalition includes the initiative’s Steering Group, Supporting Partners, and Backbone Team. For the full list of current coalition members and their roles, please visit the Who’s Involved page.  

3. What is the Accountability Framework?

The Accountability Framework is a consensus-based set of norms, definitions, and guidance to achieve ethical supply chains in agriculture and forestry. It brings greater clarity, consistency, effectiveness, and accountability in how companies set commitments, take action, and monitor progress toward achieving supply chains that are free from deforestation, conversion, and human rights violations. 

The Accountability Framework version 1.0 was published in June 2019. Since then, the AFi has promoted and supported its use by companies and other users to advance the initiative’s goal of accelerating progress and improving accountability for ethical supply chains. See the Contents of the Framework page for an overview of the Framework and links to each of its sections. 

4. Whose consensus does the Accountability Framework represent?

The Framework represents the consensus of the 15 AFi Steering Group members that participated in its development. These are: Forest Peoples Programme, Greenpeace International, Imaflora, National Wildlife Federation, Proforest, Rainforest Alliance, ResourceTrust, Rights and Resources Initiative, Social Accountability International, The Nature Conservancy, Verité, World Resources Institute, WWF, and independent experts Gita Syahrani (Indonesia) and Silas Siakor (Liberia).

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.

5.  How was the Framework developed?

The Framework was developed through a consultative process led by the AFi Steering Group with the participation and input of a broad range of stakeholders including the broader civil society community, companies, government representatives, and subject matter experts. Technical content was developed by working groups whose members represent 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 (in 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. More detail on the consultation process, stakeholder inputs, and how these inputs were incorporated or addressed in Framework version 1.0 are provided in this Public Consultation Report.

6. Who owns the Accountability Framework?

The Accountability Framework is a public good that can be freely adopted and adapted by all users.

7. Will the Accountability Framework be updated or revised? If so, when and how will this happen?

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 that are 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. 

8. Who provides financial support for the Accountability Framework initiative? 

Funding for the AFi is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment (through Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative – NICFI), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) via a grant from the ISEAL Innovations Fund. 

The AFi is not funded by, nor does it seek funding from, private companies.

For FAQs and answers about how to apply the Framework, please see this page.

Still have questions?

If you have specific questions about how the Framework can be applied in your context, or if you would like to speak to a member of the AFi team, please contact us below.

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