Clear and objective information about what is and what is not sustainable is critical in order to formulate an effective mix of investment and policy instruments that are more likely to have the desired outcomes. COSA’s concise and balanced results regarding how different sustainable practices affect producers, producer organizations, and their communities contribute to better-informed decisions.
Ensuring that investments result in greater overall sustainability
One of the world’s largest development agencies, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), recognizes the need to hold its investments to a higher standard of overall sustainability. Its high-caliber evaluation team can readily evaluate financial investments and projects but has limited experience in the kind of multi-dimensional balance necessary for evaluating the agricultural sustainability of its clients. It also sees the opportunity to offer its clients reliable and low-cost evaluation methods that they can retain.
By commissioning COSA to design a Sustainability Measurement Tool Kit, the IFC has the basis of a globally relevant approach to stimulate more rational sustainability-oriented decisions among its clients. With one of the leading global firms in its agribusiness portfolio, we piloted the tools within a demanding supply-chain.
The IFC has the opportunity to improve the consistency and relevance of the metrics applied across the many agricultural development projects that it funds. The transparency of such a system makes it easier to learn and to communicate lessons clearly. Having reliably comparable ways of measuring sustainability in agriculture opens the door to benchmarking outcomes in different regions. While still at an early stage, these COSA tools can help IFC and its clients to refine and better design projects as well as to identify precisely those that are working and that merit scaling-up.