The Terms and Conditions for Use of the Protocol set out the basis on which the Protocol can be accessed and used. It is intended that the Protocol is freely available for all, to inform dialogue and policy. At the same time, the Terms and Conditions ensure that use of the Protocol is governed to protect its integrity, ensure appropriate qualification of trainers and assessors and to provide quality control. In this regard the Terms and Conditions ensure that the results of a Protocol Assessment can be relied upon – as independent, comparable, and repeatable – and that any public ‘claims’ made concerning the results can be relied upon. They furthermore ensure that when users contract third parties to use the Protocol for assessments or any other use such as training or consulting, these contractual services are only provided by appropriately trained and experienced individuals.
The Terms and Conditions require that where any third parties are contracted to provide services in exchange for remuneration, or the intention is that those services are paid for, this is defined as ‘commercial use’ and such services may only be provided by Accredited Assessors. Accredited Assessors are a body of individuals established by the Terms and Conditions who are accredited by the Protocol Governance Committee to provide such services (see Accredited Assessor page
). Any other third parties who represent that they are entitled to do so are in breach of intellectual property rights in the Protocol. This is the case whether the remuneration is paid for by the entity itself, or a third party such as a development agency, donor or financial institution.
The Terms and Conditions further limit the publication of results of assessments by defining what may be claimed through any use of the Protocol. They define a ‘claim’ with respect to the Protocol as any public disclosure of an assessment, either of the substance of the assessment, the fact that an assessment has been conducted, or use of any report templates, logos and diagrams provided for official assessments. Publication requires that the assessment is conducted by Accredited Assessors, that the report is published on both the project sponsor’s website and on this website, and that a 60 calendar day period of public comment on the report is opened. If they so choose, an accredited assessor may respond to the comments received and amend their report, re-publishing the report within 60 calendar days of the close of the period for public comment.
An assessment that does not meet these requirements is defined as unofficial use. Any publication of such unofficial assessments are legally required to include disclaimers clearly stating that it is not an official assessment, and also stating, if the developer or operator has not been involved, that it does not have the benefit of evidence that they would have supplied. The publication of a Protocol assessment which does not meet the requirements of an official assessment, yet in intent and design implies that it is an official assessment, constitutes unauthorised use of the Protocol and will be considered in breach of the Terms and Conditions. No Protocol assessment reports (unofficial or official) may make statements regarding the certification of the project in question as ‘certified sustainable’ or similar claims regarding a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ of a sustainability standard.
Use of Accredited Assessors is mandatory for any commercial use, including third party assessments, and the Governance Committee encourages those wanting to use the Protocol, be it for training, knowledge building, or assessments, official or unofficial, to use the services of this body of experts (contact an Accredited Assessor
). It is the view of the Governance Committee that only Accredited Assessors are appropriately trained, qualified or sufficiently experienced in the use of the Protocol to provide these services. Unaccredited individuals and companies are not authorised to use the Protocol for commercial purposes, and will be in breach of intellectual property rights to the Protocol, and the client will not receive services of an appropriate standard or quality.
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