To achieve greater impact, GCP Members act collectively to address key sustainability issues in the coffee sector. But understanding what makes a collective intervention successful or not, and why, is vital to ensure the most efficient and effective use of resources. Agreeing on what to measure, and how to do it, is a steppingstone to driving change at scale in the sector. This approach has resulted in a rich collection of data and measurement resources, each building on the groundwork laid by the previous.
GCP’s measurement work started with the development of the Sustainability Framework in collaboration with the Sustainable Coffee Challenge as a compass to measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. GCP then developed the Coffee Data Standard that operationalized 15 farm-level output and impact indicators to further support the development of a common language on metrics. Since this formative work, GCP has been working with the International Coffee Organization, Better Cotton and the International Cotton Advisory Committee to develop the Delta Framework – a cross-sector collaboration focused on producing a consolidated and consistent way to measure and report the progress of farms participating in sustainable agriculture initiatives.
This framework aims to bridge the gap in measuring and reporting sustainability performance across sustainability standards in the coffee and cotton sectors. The Delta Framework is now public and available for actors in the sector to use.
“The Delta Framework bridged the gap between the info that is collected by downstream supply chain actors and the information farmers receive. Beyond being a framework for supply chain actors, both private and public, to collect and report data on sustainability outcomes in aligned ways, farmers in the pilot were able to receive and act on recommendations to improve their sustainability practices.”
George Watene, GCP
Between 2021 and 2022, the Coffee Data Standard and the Delta Framework were both piloted in Vietnam. Information from 7,224 households in Di Linh district (Lam Dong province) and 6,318 households in Krong Nang district (Dak Lak province) was collected on the Coffee Data Standard’s indicators, while in-depth interviews with 200 households in Di Linh district were conducted to test the Delta Framework.
The data provided useful insights, not only help to improve the indicators and collection tool, but also on how these efforts could be scaled. It also provided important recommendations to improve sustainability practices that have been shared with local stakeholders in Vietnam, including better practices around fertilizer use that consider organic and bio-organic fertilizers, inter-cropping and coffee rejuvenation and rejuvenation with the right varieties of coffee trees. 100 farmers participating in the Delta’s pilot received personalized profiles and tailored recommendations on how to improve their farming practices. A follow up with a 14% of these farmers in 2022 suggests that 65% followed the recommendations received.
“I found the recommendations from the project practical and useful. In fact, the recommended number of fertilizers was fewer than the amount used currently. However my family adopted these practices by reducing inorganic fertilizers and increasing organic ones. I know that adopting this good practice will strengthen health for the soil.”
Farmer participating in Delta pilot, Vietnam 2022
As the Delta Framework unfolds, it will support public and private actors in quantifying their sustainability commitments, improve the quality of services farmers receive in the future, and help create more favourable government policies that promote sustainability.
GCP Members and the coffee sector are invited to use these indicators and share the experiences, so we can continue aligning efforts and closing the gap between measuring and reporting on sustainability performance.
GCP has gained a wealth of experience in measuring outcomes with the Coffee Data Standard and the Delta Framework that will continue to inform future measurement efforts. There is, however, a long way to go. One key reflection is how to add value to farmers and how to encourage coffee producers to adapt sustainable practices.
As the experience of the Vietnamese farmer describes, the latter depends on a myriad of factors. GCP 2030’s goal to transform the lives of one million smallholders towards farmers’ prosperity through closing the living income gap and advancing sustainable coffee production, climate adaptation and mitigation, and worker well-being in more than 10 countries, presents a unique opportunity to drive further collective investment at scale to support farmer prosperity. Fine-tuning our measurement work will also provide valuable feedback for producers and other supply chain players.
The Delta Framework was made possible by a grant from the ISEAL Innovations Fund, which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The project collaborators include major sustainability standard organisations from the cotton and coffee sectors. The founding organisations are Better Cotton, the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) and the International Coffee Association (ICO).
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