OECD and FAO call for scaling-up of due diligence for responsible agricultural supply chains
Paris, 29 October 2019 - Enterprises involved in the agricultural sector are critical for the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They play a key role in generating quality investment, decent employment and developing supply chains that benefit producers and consumers, while ensuring that their actions do not have negative impacts on workers, local communities, human rights, tenure rights, the environment, and food security and nutrition.
The OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains (OECD-FAO Guidance) provides a common framework and globally applicable benchmark to help agri-businesses and investors identify and mitigate adverse impacts and contribute to sustainable development.
In February 2018 the OECD and FAO launched an implementation pilot to test the practical application of the OECD-FAO Guidance and provide companies and industry initiatives with an understanding of how companies are implementing the recommendations set out in the OECD-FAO Guidance. The pilot aimed to improve the implementation of the OECD-FAO Guidance and internationally agreed standards on responsible production, sourcing and supply chain management in the agricultural sector.
Over 30 companies and industry initiatives operating at different levels of the agricultural value chain, in food and non-food commodities, participated in the pilot. A Baseline survey evaluated the extent to which the recommendations of the OECD-FAO Guidance are addressed by pilot participants. The findings of the Baseline Report, together with subsequent analysis and discussion informed peer-learning webinars and discussions to share solutions to address challenges. A second survey in Spring 2019 analysed the progress made by companies in implementing the recommendations of the OECD-FAO Guidance and issues which continue to be a challenge.
The Final Report released today discusses current approaches to due diligence and provides lessons learned from the pilot, including examples of good practices.
Overall, companies have taken steps to strengthen their approach to due diligence. Many companies in agricultural supply chains have a sophisticated approach to RBC, but the adoption of due diligence strategies is often impacted by reactions to external pressures.
However, gaps remain in how companies translate policy commitments into implementation actions. In particular, systemic challenges require closer collaboration with key stakeholders. There is also widespread reliance by companies on industry schemes or third party platforms which may impact effective risk management. Companies do not yet provide enough information about due diligence practices in their public reporting.
The report also discusses challenges that companies face in addressing risks and impacts in their operations and business relationships. It provides recommendations to companies and policy makers on how to address these challenges.
An OECD-FAO multi-stakeholder roundtable held at the OECD, convening over 60 participants (including policy makers, investors, business, standard setters, worker groups, civil society, researchers and international organisations) reviewed the pilot findings and discussed opportunities to promote wide-scale uptake of the OECD-FAO Guidance.
For further information, please visit http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/rbc-agriculture-supply-chains.htm and http://www.fao.org/economic/est/issues/investment/guidance.
Ms. Juliet LAWAL, OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct at email@example.com
Mr. Pascal LIU, FAO Trade and Markets Division at firstname.lastname@example.org