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  • Alex Nichols

Accountability Framework Initiative – saviour or rabbit hole?

How can businesses transform their agricultural or forestry supply chains so that they protect ecosystems and communities, before it’s too late?

The Accountability Framework Initiative – currently out to consultation – attempts to provide clarity on a way forward for such businesses. There are loads of tools, approaches and guides out there. The AF Initiative attempts to help to harmonise and align, to organise and clarify what you need on your journey towards meeting key commitments such as the Paris Climate Agreement, the New York Declaration on Forests, or the Bonn Challenge for landscape restoration.

In their own words, “…many companies have not met interim milestones; they are reporting only on activities, not results; and they are facing large implementation challenges. Unless NGOs, business leaders, and other stakeholders work together to develop a common framework that is credible yet practical, the result is likely to be greenwashing in lieu of broad progress, widespread displacement of impacts, and continuing social and environmental risk for companies”

The AF initiative comprises a set of norms prepared by “a coalition of respected conservation and human rights NGOs from around the world, in close consultation with the private sector”.

Sounds useful? They seek all of our feedback. What do you think? We are pondering on the risks AF Initiative will face – one of them will be the rabbit hole down which they could disappear as they discuss the alignment and harmonization. What will be sacrificed if the approach in one biome, or region, is not easily harmonized with another’s? Will there be a race to the bottom, where the bar gets lowered? The local input will be imperative – how to achieve it? And who is supporting the upskilling of all the auditors in SE Asia or Africa, for example, required to carry out certification audits? We gather that there is a lack thereof already in some regions.

If you don’t yet have a view, at least pop along to their fabulous website at [IMS is not affiliated in any way with AF Initiative]

Alex Nichols

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