Accountability Framework: Guiding Company Commitments to Ethical Supply Chain and Reducing Deforestation

5354375825_3f19c357e3_o (1).jpgBy Lu Gao, Rainforest Alliance Consultant, Landscapes & Livelihoods

Climate Week NYC 2017 is just around the corner (September 18-24), bringing extra focus to sustainability in the headquarters city of the Rainforest Alliance. During this important, high-level week, government, businesses, and civil society will come together to continue building momentum on climate action.

An important part of many climate action strategies is removing deforestation from supply chains. Forests are critical carbon sinks, serving as both repositories for gases like CO2 and converters of CO2 to breathable oxygen.  Not only do they buffer our planet’s rising temperatures, but also provide us all with clean air.  When a forest is destroyed, large amounts of CO2 are released back into the atmosphere.  When we lose forests, we eliminate one of our most powerful defenses against climate change. Primary sectors that contribute to deforestation are forestry (paper, pulp, and timber) and agriculture (especially soy, palm oil, coffee, cocoa and cattle) in tropical regions including Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America.

Companies, commodities, and commitments

Many companies that engage in sectors contributing to deforestation and climate change have realized the impact and footprint made by their commodities and supply chains.  In recent years, hundreds of companies have made public commitments, such as the United Nations New York Declaration of Forests, to eliminate deforestation from their agriculture and forestry supply chains.  However, to deliver on these commitments, companies are still looking for clear and consistent direction on how to implement sustainability initiatives throughout their organization, and how to monitor, verify and report on the progress and outcomes of these initiatives.

The Accountability Framework Initiative

Developed to help address this critical need, the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) has been created to address these challenges by defining norms and good practices to help companies operationalize responsible supply chain commitments.  Equally important, it will provide a common approach to enhance the effectiveness, credibility, and compatibility of efforts to implement commitments, foster transparency, and track progress.  The development of this framework is led by a coalition of environmental and social NGOs, in consultation with companies, governments and other stakeholders at a global and regional scale.  This team, which is working in close coordination with other initiatives to address social and environmental risk in supply chains, will produce a set of common definitions, norms, and implementation guidelines to help companies and their suppliers meet their commitments to reduce the impact of their supply chains on deforestation. In doing so, the initiative will also provide a framework to defend other natural ecosystems, protect human and labor rights, and increase the respect of community land rights.

To learn more about Rainforest Alliance climate initiatives, please visit:

Public Consultation Period

To incorporate the comments and feedback of as many members of society as possible, the Accountability Framework will undergo a public consultation and review period starting mid-October 2017.  If you would like to provide input to this initiative, and to lend your voice to reducing deforestation and climate change, please visit:

Upcoming Events: Climate Week NYC

The Rainforest Alliance will be participating in Climate Week’s “Going ‘All-In’ to Address Commodity-Driven Deforestation + Film Premiere of Stewards of the Forest” event on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.   Please register to join us.

To explore other events and participants of Climate Week NYC 2017 (September 18-24, 2017), please visit:

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