!Unsupported Browser

This site is not optimized for Internet Explorer. Please use another major browser like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge.

The Framework for Civil Society


One of the core purposes of the Accountability Framework is to help align the efforts of civil society organizations working to address deforestation, ecosystem conversion, and human rights abuses in commodity supply chains. By speaking and acting with a common voice – as articulated in the Framework’s Core Principles and Operational Guidance – civil society can be more effective in its roles of implementation, advocacy, and the development of tools and standards for responsible commodity production and sourcing.

CSOs that support the implementation of ethical supply chains can use the Framework to identify and apply common norms and good practices for activities such as engaging smallholders, supporting processes of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), conducting land-use planning, and carrying out monitoring and verification. Doing so strengthens the value of local implementation activities by linking them to global norms that are accepted by external commodity buyers and other stakeholders.

Local and international CSOs involved in advocacy can use the Framework to assess current or proposed activities (e.g., policies or development plans pertaining to agricultural and forestry commodities) and push for more responsible, credible, or effective approaches when required. As a detailed and consensus-based guide to good practice, the Framework can help CSOs develop specific advocacy positions and demonstrate the legitimacy of these positions based on the broad coalition and consultative process that underlies the Framework. CSOs that represent indigenous peoples, local communities, smallholders, or workers can also use the Framework to help strengthen the voice of these groups in supply chain accountability processes.

The Accountability Framework is also helping to improve the alignment, effectiveness, and compatibility of different tools, standards, and monitoring systems for ethical supply chains – many of which are led or heavily informed by civil society. For instance:

  • Multiple certification programs are using the Framework’s definitions, principles, and guidance to help align elements of their systems with global norms.
  • Monitoring tools such as Global Forest Watch are incorporating the Framework’s definitions and guidelines into their analytical products so that users can assess changes in forest cover in accordance with how deforestation-free commitments are defined and understood.
  • Several reporting and assessment initiatives –  including CDP Forests, Ceres, Supply Change, SPOTT, Forest 500, and SCRIPTare working to increase the alignment between their methodologies and the Accountability Framework to provide greater consistency in how company performance is assessed.

Use the Framework

To review and apply the Framework, please refer to the Contents of the Framework to access specific sections that are relevant to your context:

See Contents