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Updates to the Accountability Framework Core Principles bring clarity and specificity for companies

23 May 2023

By Oda Almas Smith (FPP), Bilge Daldeniz (Proforest), and Karen Steer (AFi)

The Accountability Framework initiative is pleased to announce updates to the Framework's 12 Core Principles.

On behalf of the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) Coalition, we founding members are pleased to announce updates to the 12 Core Principles. First launched in 2019, the Accountability Framework is comprised of the Core Principles, Operational Guidance, and Definitions. It serves as a trusted reference for achieving agricultural and forestry supply chains that are free of deforestation and conversion, and that fully respect human rights.

The AFi updated the Core Principles in order to better align with the ways in which users can understand and apply the Framework. We feel these updates improve clarity and specificity about the elements of good practice for ethical supply chains, which reflect the consensus of the 25+ organisations in the AFi Coalition.

The new Core Principles document features structural and framing updates as well as clarifications to certain elements of ethical supply chains. For example, the updates include grouping Core Principles according to seven company action areas. This makes it easier for users to understand how to apply the Core Principles and directs them to AFi resources that are relevant to each action area.

For each Core Principle, we have also added links to related Operational Guidance documents and other supporting materials that contain additional detail. This enables readers to use the Core Principles as a single, stand-alone guide and entry point to the entire Framework.

Additionally, we have emphasised how each Core Principle is applicable to companies acting at different stages of the supply chain. All actors involved in the production, processing, sourcing, or financing of agricultural or forestry commodities can use the Framework to address potential and actual negative impacts on human rights and the environment.

Other updates include incorporating AFi Coalition positions that were adopted since 2019, such as on living income, responsible recruitment, and good practices on reporting progress towards achieving ethical supply chains. Further, we have revised or eliminated out-of-date references and added current ones where appropriate.

In making the updates, we have drawn upon feedback received from users and consultations undertaken since the Framework was first adopted. This has included direct communications with companies, industry and multi-stakeholder initiatives, reporting and assessment initiatives, and others. The updates follow the consensus of the AFi Coalition and have the approval of the AFi Steering Group.

With updated Core Principles, the Framework continues to serve as a practical roadmap for making ethical commodity production and sourcing the norm. This norm places the rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and workers — as well as the health of forests and other ecosystems — at the centre.

Please find the summary of changes to the Accountability Framework’s Core Principles here.

About Forest Peoples Programme

FPP operates through two connected, but independent, organisations based in the United Kingdom (FPP UK) and the Netherlands (FPP NL), with a shared vision and mission. FPP’s teams have expertise in land rights, environment, development, and indigenous affairs with high-level qualifications in social anthropology, human rights law, tropical forest ecology and environmental science. The team has longstanding and extensive experience working directly with indigenous and forest peoples around the globe.

About Proforest

Proforest is a global mission-driven organisation, focused on the production base and supply chains of agricultural and forestry commodities including soy, sugar, rubber, palm oil, cocoa, coconut, beef and timber. We support companies with direct action to tackle environmental and social risks throughout a supply chain. We also work with governments, companies, and collaborative organisations, in order to address systemic issues beyond the supply chain, within a landscape or a sector, to deliver positive outcomes at scale for people, nature and climate.

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