Certification can help companies strengthen and demonstrate sustainability performance of the commodities that they produce or source. This is an important part of a comprehensive approach to achieving ethical supply chains.
Companies can use certification together with the Accountability Framework to provide aligned and complementary approaches to responsible production and sourcing.
Using certification to support sustainability in line with the Accountability Framework
Where a certification system aligns with the Accountability Framework, companies can use it to fulfil the Framework for physically certified product volumes. To fully align with the Framework, systems must include the same normative requirements on no-deforestation, no-conversion, and respect for human rights as those found in the Framework’s Core Principles 1 and 2. They must also include robust assurance and chain-of-custody models that enable physically traceable certified volumes, for example segregated or identity preserved. Systems that do not fully align can still help companies meet their sustainability goals, but additional measures must be taken to address Framework elements not fully covered within the certification system.
Beyond the Accountability Framework’s focus on deforestation, conversion, and human rights, most certification systems also address other sustainability issues such as soil and water quality, good agronomy or forest management, and the use of pesticides.
Using the Accountability Framework to complement certification
The Accountability Framework provides a comprehensive and company-wide approach to ethical supply chains. This complements the product- and production unit-focus of many certification systems. Companies can use the Accountability Framework to help manage non-certified materials in their supply chains to ensure they properly address deforestation, conversion, and human rights across their entire businesses. This may be especially important when companies source commodities or purchase from regions where certification is not available or not widely used. Companies can also use the Framework to address elements of responsible business related to company systems, reporting practices, management of non-compliant suppliers, and other matters that are outside the scope of many certification programmes.