To meet expectations for transparency and to be recognized for progress, companies need to communicate clear information about the environmental and social aspects of their supply chains. This includes timely reporting to buyers, investors, and other stakeholders about the company’s ethical supply chain policies, activities, and performance.
Companies can use the Accountability Framework to guide and streamline sustainability reporting to meet stakeholder expectations and support credible claims about performance. The Accountability Framework initiative is not a reporting platform, but rather provides guidance to help companies develop their approach to sustainability reporting and determine how best to use existing reporting standards and platforms as part of this approach.
Use the Framework to guide and streamline reporting related to ethical supply chains.
Click the activities to the right for more detail.
Read our guide to get answers to common questions about how the Framework can be used in sustainability reporting:
The Framework’s Operational Guidance on Reporting, Disclosure, and Claims provides a structured outline for comprehensive reporting on forest-risk commodities that includes four key elements:
- exposure and risk
- implementation and management systems
- traceability and control
- compliance and outcomes on the ground
Companies can use several existing reporting platforms and standards to provide comprehensive and credible reporting on ethical commodity production and trade in accordance with the Accountability Framework. Increased alignment among these systems, grounded in the Accountability Framework, means that companies can use them in an integrated and complementary manner to fulfill the full set of reporting elements outlined above.
CDP Forests may be used to report effectively and in full alignment with the Framework on policies, actions, and outcomes related to deforestation and conversion. The Implementation Reporting Framework, developed by Proforest, can be used to report on progress toward environmental and social goals at the level of individual suppliers. It is currently available for the palm oil sector and is being further developed for other commodity contexts. On topics related to human rights, the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework provides a clear and comprehensive reporting standard. Companies can also use relevant standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to report on many aspects of risk, company management systems, implementation, and outcomes within the Accountability Framework’s scope. The new GRI sector standard for Agriculture and Fishing (forthcoming in 2021) is expected to provide more thorough alignment with the Accountability Framework, including more in-depth coverage of deforestation and conversion.
By clarifying the essential elements of ethical supply chains, the Framework can help companies determine how best to use and/or supplement existing reporting standards and platforms. See below for more information about using CDP Forests, GRI, and the UNGP Reporting Framework to report in alignment with the Framework.
Several organizations and initiatives assess and score company performance on topics related to deforestation, ecosystem, conversion, and human rights. The information that these initiatives publish is one of the main ways that commodity buyers, investors, consumers, and other stakeholders evaluate company responsibility related to agricultural and forestry supply chains.
In order to clarify expectations and harmonize methods for assessing company performance, the AFi is working closely with many of these initiatives – including Supply Change, Forest 500, Trase, ZSL SPOTT, WWF, and Ceres. This collaboration supports greater standardization of scorecards and rankings, with scoring criteria based on the best practices detailed in the Accountability Framework. Therefore, following the elements of the Accountability Framework and reporting in alignment with its guidance is a straightforward way for companies to earn higher scores and better ratings by these third party initiatives.
The Accountability Framework will enable companies to feel confident that the actions they're taking to address deforestation and conversion will satisfy their stakeholders' expectations and have a positive impact.
Manager, Forests, WWF
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.Contact us