Using Existing Reporting Systems to Report on Commitments
This document illustrates how companies may use existing reporting systems to help report in accordance with the Accountability Framework by presenting examples of three commonly-used frameworks and clarifying the ways in which they fulfill or are aligned with elements of the Accountability Framework. The focus here on these three existing systems is illustrative and not exhaustive companies may also use other reporting tools and approaches to report effectively on these themes, provided that the guidance in this document is followed. As alignment between the Accountability Framework and various reporting systems increases, this resource will be updated to reflect those changes. This document is intended to be a resource that supports the Operational Guidance on Reporting, Disclosure, and Claims, and should be referenced alongside that material.
A. Overview of three commonly-used reporting systems
CDP Forests provides a standardized method and common platform through which companies can report on their exposure to deforestation risk and on the actions they are taking to minimize and address that risk. Since early 2018, the AFi and CDP Forests have been collaborating toward the goal of aligning the CDP Forests questionnaire and guidance with the Accountability Framework Definitions and Core Principles that are germane to the scope of CDP Forests. The 2019 CDP Forests questionnaire reflects initial alignment efforts based on the development of the draft Accountability Framework through the end of 2018, including alignment of key definitions and questionnaire guidance. The 2020 questionnaire is expected to incorporate further alignment work based on version 1.0 of the Accountability Framework. Due to this alignment, companies that report through CDP Forests will be reporting consistent with the Accountability Framework for those themes covered by CDP Forests.
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards
The GRI provides reporting standards on a broad range of environmental, social, and governance topics. Applicable GRI standards provide a helpful guide for companies to report on systems, processes, and outcomes related to many elements of the Accountability Framework.
United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (UNGP RF)
The UNGP RF addresses company reporting on activities and outcomes related to human rights. The framework instructs companies to identify salient risks associated with the company’s activities and business during the reporting period and to answer questions about the company’s policies and activities related to those risks. The framework provides a helpful structure for reporting on several Accountability Framework Core Principles, including those that address the content of commitments, company systems and policies, stakeholder engagement, and monitoring related to human rights.
B. Using these systems to guide reporting related to topics within the Accountability Framework scope
Each of these systems provides opportunity for reporting on topics within the scope of the Accountability Framework, though none is sufficient to address the full range of reporting topics. The table below describes the ways in which these systems may be used to report on social and environmental topics within the Accountability Framework scope. Companies may wish to use these or similar systems in combination and may also supplement their use of these tools with the indicative metrics provided in Section 2 and Annex 1 of the Operational Guidance on Reporting, Disclosure, and Claims.
C. Alignment between reporting system components and Accountability Framework Core Principles
Companies can report against many of the elements of the Accountability Framework related to specification, implementation, and monitoring of commitments by utilizing the reporting standards or questionnaires of CDP Forests, GRI, or the UNGP RF. The following table identifies the specific questions or standards in each of these systems that correspond to the elements in the Accountability Framework’s Core Principles 3-12.