To advance systematic and science-based measurement tools for understanding, managing, and accelerating sustainability.
We each hold different ideas about what is “sustainable”. Yet, in practical terms, we can only advance a discussion on sustainability if we understand a common and transparent “language”. Just as tools have been developed and standardized to facilitate the communication about so many things from weather reports to Generally Accepted Accounting Practices, we all benefit from standardized tools to measure and communicate sustainability.
These principles reflect our values and serve as the foundation of what we do.
- An open consortium of partners benefits from the ongoing and cumulative mutual learning and collaboration among the dozens of institutions and leading firms.
- Common indicators take learning to a new level and reduce confusion in this complex area. The consistent measurement of sustainability improves project designs, facilitates effective comparison and more standardized assessment, and reduces the costly waste of repetitive studies.
- Local capacity integrating national partner institutions helps COSA to achieve local relevance and a richer contextual understanding.
- A multi-dimensional view offers a systemic understanding in order to manage the inevitable choices and trade-offs of the three pillars of sustainability (social, economic, environmental) .
- International validity and best practice in sustainability assessment is vital in COSA’s alignment of with many internationally recognized multilateral references and accords.
COSA’s indicators align with dozens of international accords including:
We work in developing countries where sustainability issues in agriculture have great impact. We continue to expand work to new countries each year.
Our experience began with coffee, the world’s most economically important agricultural commodity and one that is particularly relevant for small-scale producers. Coffee is grown in over 60 developing countries and is a primary export for several of them providing livelihoods for about 20 million families.
We have expanded to cacao and food crops. We intend to soon address a number of other crops, acknowledging that it will take interested partners in order to expand work into cotton, palm oil, tea, biofuel crops, soy, and sugar among others.