Principles of Conduct

Principles of Conduct

1. Businesses and Service Providers will act fairly, equitably, and transparently.

2. Land investment and land-related projects, for example, agricultural or renewable energy projects, will be conducted responsibly, which includes complying with national law and international standards and best practices, such as the IFC Performance Standards, and UN FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT).

3. Social license to operate – the measure of trust and confidence society has in a business to behave in a legitimate, transparent, accountable, and socially acceptable way – will be gained and maintained in order for Businesses to invest responsibly and successfully.

4. Businesses and Service Providers will treat women equitably, always taking the necessary steps to include women in investment and project activities and to promote and protect women’s rights and uses of assets, including land.

5. Businesses and Service Providers will act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the human rights and legitimate land tenure rights of local people – both women and men – in and around the communities in which they are investing or operating. All land users and rights holders who will be affected, whether directly or indirectly, by an investment or project will be identified and respected. This includes recognition and respect of access, use, secondary, and communal rights that are recognized under either formal or customary law.

6. Land investments and projects will not be simply imposed on local people – instead, local people and their leaders will be empowered to participate fully in the land investments and projects affecting them, to help shape the terms of the investment, and decide whether the investment will proceed. Women and men in communities must have the capacity and opportunity to be part of fair land deals and final decisions.

7. Businesses and Service Providers will obtain free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) from all indigenous peoples, including self-identified peoples who maintain customary relationships with land and natural resources, affected by a land investment or project. All voluntary land transactions and proposed changes of land use require informed consent from all land users and rights holders – both women and men – and communities affected by a land investment or project.

8. A lawful government expropriation or compulsory acquisition of land undertaken for the benefit of a business will be done for a legitimate public purpose, be transparent and participatory, provide for due process and an opportunity to appeal, and be accompanied by full and fair compensation that is paid before the land is taken from the rights holders. Where government capacity is limited or the governance framework is weak, Businesses and Service Providers will play an active role in the compulsory land acquisition process, ensuring that the public purpose is legitimate and in keeping with national law, that all rights holders are identified and properly informed and consulted, and that compensation is timely paid to all affected women, men, and communities.

9. When an investment or project results in a loss or change of land or other natural resource rights, affected rights holders will be compensated in full based on fair (considering social, cultural, and economic valuation) and gender equitable negotiations. Businesses and Service Providers will ensure that individuals and groups vulnerable to social, legal, and economic exclusion, such as women, ethnic minorities, youth, pastoralists, and migrant farmers, are taken into consideration during the compensation process.

10. Businesses and Service Providers will determine the potential impact of an investment or project on local people and the environment and work to avoid, fully mitigate, and manage such impacts and the risks that are related to the investment or project, either directly or indirectly.

11. As part of any investment or project, Businesses and Service Providers will establish and implement an accessible, predictable, effective, and transparent grievance and dispute resolution mechanism to receive and address grievances of community members, including those affected by land use changes.

12. Businesses will clearly define their policies regarding responsible investment and make such policies publicly available.