The Accountability Framework Initiative, a partnership of 14 social and environmental NGOs including WWF, Proforest, and Rainforest Alliance has launched a self-assessment tool to help companies identify, prioritise, and address elements of their practices that fall short.
The Framework was designed to offer a common guide for ethical supply chains by focusing on fundamental issues in social and environmental responsibility. These cover and conversion deforestation, and respect for the rights of indigenous people, local communities, and workers.
In the food industry, the commodities most associated with deforestation include soy, palm oil, beef, and cocoa. Companies operating in these fields, among others, that wish to adhere to the Framework’s guidelines are required to make clear and strong commitments, take action and demonstrate progress through monitoring, verification reporting and claims.
The assessment tool for company commitments and goals can be used to assess the alignment of a company’s commitments and policies to protect forests and other natural ecosystems, as well as its respect for human rights.
The second tool is designed to self-assess a company’s alignment of policies, systems, and practices related to the implementation of its commitments and demonstration of progress toward fulfilment of ethical supply chains.
The aim of the new self-assessment tools is to provide a clear and straightforward way for companies to understand where they sit in relation to globally agreed-upon best practices for ethical supply chains.
Manufacturers can also use it to determine the ways in which they may already be in line with global best practice and to guide reporting on these topics to demonstrate progress to buyers, consumers, and investors.
Another undeniable big winner will of course be the environment, as well as local communities and workers, especially those associated with the production of soy, palm oil, beef, and cocoa.