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The Delta Framework was developed through a cross-sector collaboration over the past three years, focusing on producing a consolidated and consistent way to measure and report the progress of farms participating in sustainable commodity certification schemes or other sustainable agriculture initiatives.

It is also accompanied by examples of best practices, methodologies and tools to encourage stakeholders to adopt and use the framework, alongside recommendations on how private or public entities can effectively utilise the framework and communicate sustainability information to their stakeholders.

Alan McClay, CEO of Better Cotton, said, “Better Cotton is proud to have initiated and coordinated this cross-sector collaboration, which brings together expertise from across the agricultural sector. The Delta Framework is making it easier for the private sector, governments and farmers to report effectively on sustainability progress, leading to improvements in the quality of support and services provided to farmers, including better financing and government policies.”

This cross-sector programme achieved consensus on key sustainability indicators and guidance materials that were extensively tested by the Project participants and other stakeholders. As a result, eight sustainable cotton standards, programmes and codes (members of the Cotton 2040 Working Group on Impact Metrics alignment) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they commit to align on Impacts Measurement and Reporting.

Additionally, each member has committed to identifying an individual timeline for integrating relevant Delta indicators into their own monitoring, evaluation and reporting systems over time. The framework also provides an opportunity to develop cross-sector services to respond to farmers’ concerns and challenges, while making it easier to report progress.

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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This is also possibly a step forward in keeping track of how the sustainable agriculture sector is contributing to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).