Bonsucro launches new Grievance Mechanism

15th June 2020

Bonsucro has created a new Grievance Mechanism to manage complaints against its members. The system is designed with respect to inclusivity and accessibility and facilitates mediation as means for resolution.  The Grievance Mechanism complements the new Code of Conduct for Members, launched in April, and puts Bonsucro at the forefront of sustainability standards.

The Grievance Mechanism sits within a newly defined accountability ecosystem that provides a space for stakeholders to complain against the action or inaction of members, should the need arise. Managing complaints, is key to maintaining the performance of the assurance system.

Having an effective Grievance Mechanism is an essential part of proactive compliance, risk management and remediation for voluntary sustainability standard schemes.

The Bonsucro Secretariat received the support of DLA Piper, an independent law firm to develop the Grievance Mechanism and build a framework aligned with international best practice. The Grievance Mechanism has also been designed to align with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Effectiveness Criteria – a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent and address human rights abuses committed in business operations.

Jean-Pierre Douglas-Henry, the International Co-Head, Sustainability and ESG at DLA Piper said, “DLA Piper is pleased to have advised Bonsucro on the development of its Grievance Mechanism. It is a novel example of a private mechanism that is built on a foundation of dialogue and engagement and seeks to bring parties together to facilitate effective remediation. As Sustainability and environmental, social and governance issues become the increasing focus of regulators and policy makers, Bonsucro is well placed to support its members’ efforts to meet these incoming challenges.”

There was strong support from stakeholders that Bonsucro’s newly developed Grievance Mechanism offers mediation, with a fair and independent process to determine the validity of allegations and any subsequent action to be taken.

For this reason, Bonsucro decided to partner with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). CEDR is a well-established and highly respected organisation, at the forefront of providing mediation services for commercial disputes. Its partnership with Bonsucro is aligned with its development of alternative dispute mechanisms in the field of human rights.

Lauren McGuirl, Director of Commercial Disputes Services at CEDR said, “We are delighted to be working with Bonsucro on their Grievance Mechanism. The Grievance Mechanism is a groundbreaking dispute resolution solution in the business and human rights space.  We look forward to working with Bonsucro to address issues in this area and bring parties together to address and remedy conflicts.”

Danielle Morley, Bonsucro’s CEO said, “Improving our Grievance Mechanism to meet international standards was one of my priorities when I joined Bonsucro two years ago. It is critical to our credibility and effectiveness. I want to make sure that Bonsucro is always inclusive, accountable and open, and we will develop new partnerships to underpin that. I am delighted to be partnering with CEDR to gain from their expertise in dispute resolution and help parties seek resolution.”

CEDR is finalising the operational planning and will open for the submission of complaints from 15 August 2020.

Going forward, Bonsucro will look for partners to support the Grievance Mechanism and aims to establish a Support Group to provide language and organisational support for complainants. Further information is available here.

To find out more about the new Grievance Mechanism, sign up to one of the following webinars.

Bonsucro Complaints and Grievances Management System Webinar, Tuesday 4th August 2020 08:00 UK

Sistema de Gestión de Quejas y Reclamos De Bonsucro Webinar – Wednesday 5th August 2020 16:30 Argentina / 20:30 UK

Sistema de Gestão de Denúncias e Reclamações Da Bonsucro Webinar – Thursday 6th August 2020 11:30 am São Paulo 3:30 pm UK