The Challenge

There are many sustainability standards and public-sector initiatives that promote and drive sustainability within commodity sectors. However, there is no alignment on how data is collected and reported, which makes it difficult to have a clear view on the collective ability of these programmes to progress towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a global scale.

The more sustainability standards, initiatives and schemes focus on credible data and SDG reporting, the more information is required from producers on their environmental, social and economic performance. The latter implies a higher cost in terms of gathering data, but it does not necessarily lead to any added value for producers.

The main barriers to standards becoming more aligned, in terms of transparency, credibility and comparability, are linked to data management and data use by a variety of actors, from businesses to customers and donors. Additionally, providing accurate real-time information at scale creates additional pressures for standard holders.

Within current models, sustainability performance measurement serves single supply chains, even within landscape approaches and aligned reporting definitions and principles. 

The Delta Project Approach

The Delta Project has been developed to align the measurement and reporting on sustainability performance at farm level across sustainability standards and commodities. The project is a collaboration between the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) and the International Coffee Association (ICO). It is funded by the ISEAL Innovation Fund.

The Delta Project aims to facilitate harmonised sustainability performance reporting, to support public and private actors and governments to quantify their SDG commitments while achieving better targeted services to support producers across different sectors in a region.

The project will create a common language (or framework) for sustainability performance monitoring and SDG reporting across different agricultural sectors, starting with cotton and coffee.

The Delta Framework

The Delta Framework will feature a common set of environmental, social, and economic indicators to measure sustainability across the cotton and coffee commodity sectors, though the number of indicators will be limited to ensure that the framework remains manageable for companies and governments.

The project will also provide examples of good and bad practices; tools and information to facilitate the framework’s adoption; and recommendations on how companies can communicate sustainability information to their customers.

Who Benefits?

Standardising a framework and making it adaptable to a range of commodities will also foster the development of a common language for sustainability in agriculture and make it easier to collect and compare data. The availability of structured data will benefit all stakeholders, including farmers, service providers, retailers, governments, donors, NGOs and academia. The Framework is expected to improve the quality of support and services farmers receive in the future, including better financing terms and more favourable government policies that promote sustainability in the agricultural sector. Find out more below.

Producers and Smallholder Farmers

Learn more from your data Feedback mechanisms will be put in place to help make sense of farmer data and information collected at field level. Information will be delivered back to farmers in a usable and efficient way to help farmers learn more about environmental conditions, peer performance and the impact of their agriculture practices.

Added value through open data - Standardised information, and contextualisation of open data sources supports producers with better informed decision-making, learning and knowledge exchange.

Increased awarding potential - The attribution of comparable and credible sustainability performance information to agricultural produce adds additional value to it, ultimately supporting the producer’s claims and aiming at increasing their incentives for further sustainability improvements.

Better services - The nature of unified and standardised sustainability performance data supports farmers through the increased potential for better targeted agricultural policies, extension services and financial support.

Governments and Public Sector

Comprehensive overview of your sectors - A common cross-commodity measurement framework for aligned reporting facilitates comprehensive aggregation of information on sustainability issues and performance, both on national and sub-national levels.

Outcome-oriented measurement - Complementing Voluntary Standard Systems (VSS) by adding outcome and impact-based indicators to the practice-based monitoring.

Standardised and comparable reporting - Globally aligned and commonly agreed metrics ensure comparable and more credible reporting on commitments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Increased positive impact of your policy decisions - Evidence based decision-making for better targeted agricultural policies and services, supporting smallholder producers and ultimately leading to thriving sustainable agricultural sectors at scale.

Private Sector

Save costs - Reduce your data collection efforts thanks to aligned data requirements by key stakeholders across supply chains.

Show impact - Quantify your sustainability impact to add credibility to your claims on sourcing behaviour, also by utilising Voluntary Standard Systems.

What's your contribution - Quantify your SDG contribution and respond to/be prepared for transparency requirements, e.g. from end-customers in terms of product sustainability attributions.

Improve investment efficiency - Better target your interventions to improve your suppliers performance.

Questions? Ideas?

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