Certification and roundtables

Certification can help companies strengthen and demonstrate sustainability performance as part of a comprehensive approach to achieving ethical supply chains

Certification programmes and the Accountability Framework are complementary tools to define and implement ethical supply chains. Companies can use certification to help achieve and verify sustainability performance for the commodities they produce or source, consistent with the Accountability Framework. The Framework supports a company-wide approach to ethical supply chains and may be used to help manage non-certified supplies and to address additional elements of responsible business.

Common questions about the Framework and certification

Expand the items to the right to learn more:

How does certification help companies fulfill the elements of the Accountability Framework?

Many certification standards align closely with the Framework’s normative positions on no-deforestation, no-conversion, and full respect for human rights. Materials certified to such standards and brought to market via a segregated or identity-preserved supply chain model generally fulfill the Framework’s expectations for ethical supply chains, including elements on risk assessment, traceability, implementation systems, supplier management, land management, remediation, and monitoring and verification.

Purchase of certified materials or credits using a mass-balance or book-and-claim system signifies a contribution to supporting ethical commodities. However, it might not demonstrate that materials in the supply chain are deforestation-free, conversion-free, or produced with respect for human rights.

How can companies use the Framework in tandem with certification?

Companies can use the Framework to develop a comprehensive approach for ethical supply chains – including all commodities, all sourcing origins, and both certified and non-certified supplies – under a coherent company-wide set of policies, systems, and reporting practices.

Many companies that use certification also source non-certified materials. This may happen because certification is not available or not widely used for a particular commodity or origin, or because some suppliers are early in their sustainability journey and not yet ready for certification. The Framework can help companies develop effective policies, systems and practices to address environmental and social risk and to fulfill ethical supply chain commitments for non-certified supplies. Click here to get started.

Unlike certification programmes, the Framework does not include a verification mechanism (see FAQ #6 for more detail). However, it provides guidelines for credible risk assessment and monitoring and verification of non-certified supplies.

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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