The Crop Trust is committed to ensuring transparency in its governance, fiduciary responsibility, staff employment and management practices as well as its overall business operations. This page provides information on these areas, with links to documents providing further detail.
Crop Trust Governance and Fiduciary Responsibility
The Crop Trust has a strong and efficient corporate governance framework composed of three pillars:
- a high level Executive Board with expertise from a range of scientific, financial and policy backgrounds
- a Finance and Investment Committee who advises the Executive Board on matters of financial management
- a Donors’ Council that functions as a forum for the Crop Trust’s donors to express their views on the Organization’s financial activities and overall operations
The Crop Trust registered its Establishment with the United Nations in 2006. The Organization’s Headquarters Agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany was registered with the United Nations in 2013.
For more information about the Crop Trust’s Governance, Framework and Strategic Operations visit our Governance and Policy page.
Quality Financial Practices
The key objectives for the Finance Office is to provide high quality financial and management information for decision-making, to monitor budgets versus actual reporting, to ensure a clean unqualified audit opinion and to proactively manage the Endowment Fund. The Finance Office, including the Contracts & Grants Office, is managed by the Finance Manager and overseen by the Director of Finance. The activities of the Finance Office are performed by developing the knowledge and skills of our team; providing our colleagues with the appropriate tools to perform their roles (i.e. IT tools, business processes etc.); and supporting staff across the Crop Trust in a proactive manner and ensuring that all staff have on-going training on financial processes and the Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) system.
The following financial practices and procedures are in place within the Crop Trust and are actively reviewed and monitored where appropriate:
- The Crop Trust follows a set of internationally recognized accounting standards and is audited annually by external auditors, currently PWC. The Crop Trust has always received an unqualified, clean external audit opinion to date.
- The organization prepares timely financial statements including the Statement of Financial Position, Statement of Activities and cash flow statement, which are considered and approved by the Finance & Investment Committee and the Executive Board.
- The Finance Office supports the administration of the Finance & Investment Committee and provides all agendas, documentation and minutes on a timely basis.
- The organization has systems in place to provide the appropriate information needed by the Senior Management Team, Finance & Investment Committee, the Executive Board and employees to make sound financial decisions and to fulfill our governance requirements.
- A detailed annual budgeting process is in place for the development of a bottom-up annual budget plan. The budget is approved by the Finance & Investment Committee and the Board and is monitored and reviewed monthly by the Finance Office in conjunction with budget holders.
- Revisions to the annual budget are considered and approved by the Finance & Investment Committee and the Board.
- The Endowment Fund’s performance is reviewed monthly in conjunction with independent investment advisors.
- The organization has a Board-approved Investment Policy Statement, and the adherence to it is monitored by the Finance & Investment Committee.
- The UN Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) are incorporated within the Investment Policy Statement and the Finance Office communicates with investment managers to ensure that they aware that the Crop Trust is an UN PRI signatory.
- A comprehensive Board-approved Financial Policies & Procedures Manual is in place with detailed processes, internal controls and workflows documented for staff.
- Additional financial policies that are required are brought to the Board for approval.
- Payroll is prepared in conjunction with HR with a “four eyes” principle being applied.
- Detailed procurement guidelines exist for the tendering of services over USD 5,000 and these guidelines are monitored by the Contracts and Grants Office.
- Expenditures are approved by the designated budget-holder and Finance Office before payments are made.
- All sub-grantee financial reports are reviewed annually by Finance and the Contracts and Grants Office.
- Financial reports due to Donors are prepared on a timely basis.
- Gift acceptance policy regarding acceptance of funds from private donors.
The Crop Trust recognizes its primary fiduciary responsibility towards its donor and partners. The Organization is also committed towards ensuring effective and cost-efficient operations of its Secretariat and to managing its human capital. Crop Trust Executive Management undertakes an annual assessment of risks and considers mitigating actions to reduce and address those risks. All staff have input into the development of the risk matrix and each year, this risk matrix is discussed with the Crop Trust’s Executive Board.
The Crop Trust’s commitment to staff and expectations for staff conduct
The Crop Trust considers its staff its most important asset. We strive to attract, retain and develop staff of the highest quality, encourage professional and personal growth, provide a safe and well-equipped work environment and offer opportunity for staff participation in matters that affect the staff and their work. The Organization is an equal opportunity employer, committed to hiring staff regardless of nationality, race, gender, religion, political persuasion, marital status, or sexual orientation. The Crop Trust strives to provide a fair and equitable treatment to its staff, and discourages all forms of unfair discrimination.
The Crop Trust’s Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual explains the obligations of the Crop Trust but also the obligations and expectations with regard to staff conduct, including conflict of interest. It describes the policies and procedures for recruitment, classification, performance assessment, staff development, contract renewals, disciplinary and appeals procedures and the Organization’s “Whistle-Blower” policy. The manual describes staff entitlements and benefits.
Quality Business Practices
The Crop Trust enjoys a lean administrative structure. We aim to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in all levels of our corporate operations. A number of policies and procedures are in place that describe the Organization’s business practices such as the Information and Communication Technologies Policies and Procedures Manual and the Travel Policies and Procedures Manual.
The Crop Trust applies rigorous standards in its review of project proposals and reports from partners. Proposals and project reports follow a clearance procedure involving the Crop Trust’s team of scientists and financial experts. Procedures for contract preparation and report clearance are documented in the Contract Policies and Procedures, which are currently being finalized and will be incorporated into the Financial Policies and Procedures Manual. We also encourage both staff and partners to maximize the availability of project results by publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Finally, the Crop Trust’s own reports to our donors are scrutinized by staff with different areas of scientific and financial expertise prior to being cleared by executive management. All major technical projects include a provision for external reviews.
The Crop Trust’s commitment to quality of communications
The Crop Trust ensures high quality in its communication outreach activities such as press releases and opinion editorials through internal approval processes. Communication material and outreach goes through a formalized clearance process. In January 2015 the Crop Trust adopted a new visual identity. In order to ensure a uniform public image, the Crop Trust has made available brand guidelines to staff and partners.