The reporting framework of the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge aims to assess progress on the implementation of commitments made as part of the initiative. It was developed by independent consultants of Walk the Talk, under the supervision and guidance of the Pledge Coordinator, the Shamba Centre for Food & Climate.
As of the beginning of 2023, and since the initiative’s launch in 2021, 44 companies have successfully submitted a pledge towards aligning their investment to address UN SDG Goal 2: Zero Hunger. In their submission, these companies committed to “being able to report on resources allocation, progress, impact and challenges in the context of the agreed collaboration.”
Objective & Target
The reporting framework is a first step in accountability and long-term impact for all participants in the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge (“the Pledge”). It provides a guideline and methodology on how to verify if companies are honouring their pledges through an evidenced investment. It serves as a high-level instrument which can be used to hold companies to account, and to establish a proof of concept, so that more companies join the initiative.
The reporting framework contributes to the reporting exercise, which aims to publish a report with aggregated data on all pledges of over USD 1 million. For the 2023 reporting report, the ambition is to verify the following information:
Establish that the pledged investment took place
Confirm the country/region in which it was spent
Confirm the amount that was spent
The challenges in developing the framework are linked to the Pledge format (non-binding, overarching existing company initiatives). The framework therefore focuses on key data and enables flexibility in the reporting process.
To better understand the quality of the data collected, a scorecard will help assess the reliability of the verification. For example, a company for which all data has been verified (cross referenced) will get a score of 10 for reliability whilst a company for which only a few data points could be confirmed would get a 5. The scoring will be established once we have an idea of the standard deviation of scores. For transparency purposes, the report will highlight where the information compiled was self-reported versus when it was externally validated.
Considering the variability in the depth of the information collected, leader/median/learner practice will also be identified during the reporting process, reflecting reporting capabilities and intentionality. The report will highlight those “leader” companies that have provided “extra” information (e.g., information on impact, challenges encountered). The leader/median/learner is an internal reference for the Pledge Coordinator and independent consultants leading the reporting process. This scorecard will provide guidance for future iterations of the framework to manage the reporting burden for stakeholders involved, whilst encouraging parties to collect relevant data.
As per the Pledge requirements for companies pledging under USD 1 million, these companies “will not be subject to the same reporting and accountability standards as pledges over USD 1 million. These pledges will still be included in the reporting but through stories and case studies.”
As part of the Pledge, companies committed to comply with host state laws and regulations as well as internationally accepted principles. We ask companies to confirm that they still comply with host state laws and regulations as well as international agreed principles, namely:
Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS-RAI);
International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes;
Principles of the UN Global Compact; and
UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Roles & Responsibilities
The Pledge states that “the company must name the partners it will work with to achieve the action: these could include one of the implementing organisations; another international or regional organisation; the local, regional, or national government; or another civil society organisation.”
Given the varying partnership structures and levels between companies and the implementing organisation(s) / partner(s) named in their pledge, the first point of contact for this reporting exercise will be the company itself. The company can choose to be the “Reporting Entity” and submit the information directly. In this instance, it will communicate on the provenance and source of information as well as means of verification. The company can also assign the submission of information to the implementing organisation(s) / partners or another external organisation – provided that the said organisation has agreed to provide verification. The submitting entity will be the “Reporting Entity.”
Data Collection & Monitoring
This section concerns all companies whose pledge totalled at least USD 1 million.
The Pledge submission form requests of pledging companies that they provide information related to:
Type of Financial Commitment
Ceres2030 Area of Investment
Type of Investment
Implementing Organisation(s) and/or Partner(s)
If some information was missing in the original JotForm submission, the reporting exercise provides an opportunity to update and fill in those gaps.
The following data will be collected from organisations. Given the burden of reporting, the reporting framework enables flexibility on how the data is compiled as well as means of verification of the information reported.
Pledge implementation partner(s)
Description of the partnerships involved in the implementation of the pledge: business entities, partner companies, NGOs, community organisations, etc.
Reporting Entity / Data Evidence
Different means of verification shall be acceptable, depending on the data collection method (self-reporting versus externally provided/validated) and the status of the pledging company (listed versus private company). Verification can be provided by:
An external partner in the project;
A separate/philanthropic arm of the company: foundation, charity, fund;
A third-party (reporting) organisation;
For listed companies, a written signed statement confirming the status of the implementation can be provided. If the data is compiled by a person within the company, they should indicate how they are verifying this data.
We would like to see that the programme can be cross-referenced in a document provided by the reporting entity. If we can find a press release or a mention of this project in one of the company’s reports, we can infer that the project exists and thus the pledge, implemented.
We encourage companies to report specifically on their pledge but accept information gathered through publicly available information – provided it can be directly linked to the pledge commitment. Overview of activities undertaken to fulfill the commitment can be referenced through a variety of sources including:
Conversation/interviews with beneficiaries or testimonies;
Partner statements; and
Amount spent over the period (vs amount committed)
Amounts deployed from the pledge submission date (JotFprm) until the end of the last reporting period and considering whether the commitment is a single or multi-year commitment. The ambition is not to audit companies’ spending but to ensure that their commitment can be verified.
Spending can be referenced through a variety of sources including:
Certificate of investment;
Mention in a report / press release ;
Audited accounts / bank statements / Invoices;
Reporting by the implementing organisation(s) and/or partner(s): this could be in the form of a statement sent by email attesting to the implementation; and
For a listed company, a signed written statement.
The amounts will be compiled in the currency used for the company’s pledge submission. The exchange rate will be calculated based on the World Bank official exchange rates for the year(s) covered in the reporting period.
Start date of the intervention/ Disbursement date
Whether this is a revolving/multi-year intervention or a single-year commitment, disbursement must have happened after the Pledge was submitted in order for the intervention to be valid. Evidence can be provided such as:
Proof of money spent at x date;
Company announcement of activities deployed;
Assurance/Reporting by the implementing organisation(s) / partner(s); and
Written statement by the reporting entity.
(Optional) Impact data
For this reporting period, we invite companies to report on outcomes and impact of activities on a voluntary basis. For guidance, companies can choose to align, where possible, with selected indicators of the WBA Food and Agriculture Benchmark (FAB). For future reporting years, we recommend including, in the data collection, that the company reports on a WBA metric aligned with their Ceres2030 investment area.
Suggested by WBA
Additional indicator suggested by the Shamba Centre
Additional indicator suggested by WTT
B3 Ecosystems conversion
B9. Reducing food loss and waste
D24. Land Rights
B6 Soil Health
B8 Water withdrawal
C1 Availability of nutritious foods
C2 Accessibility and affordability of nutritious foods
C5 Workforce nutrition
D12 Collective bargaining fundamentals
D14 Gender equality & women empowerment
D22 Health and safety for vulnerable groups
D23 Farmers and fishers livelihood
Data Assessment & Analysis
Through the data collected, the report will analyse trends such as outlined below.
What types of interventions have taken place?
Country distribution (high priority countries vs medium and low) of interventions;
Industry/Sector distribution of companies pledging;
Pledge progress overall (% spent vs overall commitment and yearly spending (2021, 2022…); and
Intentionality and engagement (i.e., assessment of the mention(s) by each company of their commitment in their public communications, review of the type and number of communications that involve the mention of the commitment, etc.).
How are pledges being implemented?
Alignment with Ceres2030 investment areas. This information was already collected via the submission. Wherever possible, the pledge progress will be analysed per investment area.
What are some best practices to assess the effectiveness of the pledge implementation?
Best/Median/Learner practice. The report will identify additional information that is reported by the Reporting Entities pertaining to the below:
Quantitative and qualitative data on progress achieved such as:
Analysis of the results against the targets / milestones set by the company in relation to their pledge;
Explanation of any significant deviations from the expected outcomes;
Description of challenges encountered (for companies unable to confirm implementation of their pledge due to conflict, difficulty accessing finance, etc.);
Indicators and metrics used to measure progress; and
Explanation from the implementing organisation(s) and/or partner(s) of any data collection challenges faced and how they were addressed.
Best Practices and Innovation / Challenges and lessons learned.
Stakeholder engagement (e.g., are the implementing organisation(s) and/or partner(s) aware that the intervention falls within the scope of the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge commitment?).
Reporting guidance (FAQ)
Does the reporting cover only investments made or also committed investments not yet deployed? The reporting only covers the investments made.
What is the reporting period? For this reporting year (2022), only pledge investments that have already been deployed since the pledge commitment are considered (e.g., for a pledge submitted in August 2021, the reporting period covers August 2021 to December 2022.
What is the reporting cycle? Data will be collected every two years. The next reporting period will be 2023/2024.
What is a “Reporting Entity”? The entity that holds primary responsibility and accountability towards collecting and reporting the data / information to the Zero Hunger Pledge Coordinator or a third-party engaged by the former (i.e., either the pledging company itself or the implementing organisation / partner).
Will this report be publicly available? Yes, the report will be publicly available.
What individual level company data will the report share? While information will be reflected at the aggregate level (including but not limited to: amounts committed/invested towards particular investment areas, distribution across priority countries/regions, best practices, challenges, and lessons learnt). At the individual level, data / information will be shared pertaining to the amount committed vs. the investments made and, to the extent possible and on a voluntary basis, to outcomes and impact achieved. The data / information required for reporting purposes shall be iterative and evolve in subsequent reporting cycles. For pledges under USD 1 million, companies would be invited to share stories and case studies.
As a company, what happens if I don’t have an implementing organisation / partner? As per the Pledge FAQ document, while “a company pledge is a non-binding statement of the company’s proposed investments plans” and “it is not intended to create any legally enforceable rights or obligations of the company or its affiliates.”, it is also a requirement that “The company must specify which organisation they wish to work with to implement their pledge and is free to choose their own implementing organisation.” It is therefore encouraged for companies to identify an implementing organisation / partner and communicate the name of that partner organisation when submitting their pledge or before the end of their first reporting period. In case there is a change in the implementing organisation / partner (addition or replacement), the same shall be communicated as soon as possible to the Zero Hunger Pledge Coordinator.
What is the purpose of the reporting framework? The purpose of the framework is to confirm how pledges made as part of the Zero Hunger Pledge are being converted into real investments. It also contributes to establishing the proof of concept of the Pledge.
Which conversation rate should apply for amounts reported? The amounts should be provided in the same currency of the company’s pledge submission. A harmonized USD conversion rate will be used for the report.
What if I have paid the implementation partner before the pledge start date but the funds have only been deployed after the start date, can these amounts be included as investments? Yes. As long as the intervention is deployed after the pledge date, amounts committed before the pledge date can be included as part of the pledge.
What is considered as the pledge start date? The pledge start date corresponds to the date of the submission as stated on JotForm.
What happens if no information is provided towards the reporting process by a company or their partners? In the event that it is not possible to reach out to the company or their partner after several attempts to confirm the implementation of commitments, the commitment will be removed from the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge website and the inability to contact the pledging company (i.e., to confirm implementation of their commitment) will be highlighted in the report.
This reporting framework does not cover the impact of the interventions for this first reporting year. However, in future years, the reporting framework should evolve to demonstrate how pledges are driving and delivering impact.
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