The ICAC Expert Panel on Social, Environmental and Economic Performance of Cotton Production (SEEP), constituted by 14 experts from all over the world, has released its final report on “Measuring Sustainability in Cotton Farming Systems: Towards a Guidance Framework”. The document provides an overview of sustainability themes and recommends a set of indicators to assess and measure progress on the critical sustainability issues for cotton farming. The report was developed on the understanding that any coordinated, industry-wide effort on measuring the sustainability of cotton farming must start with discussion and agreement on what are the key issues that need to be addressed, what are the best indicators to assess progress towards becoming more sustainable, and who are the appropriate stakeholders to undertake the responsibility for doing so. The list of recommended indicators was developed by 1) reviewing a comprehensive range of programs to extract their indicators and creating an inventory of potential indicators; 2) selecting the most relevant ones from this inventory through an objective rating system and 3) expert review of the selected indicators. The list of indicators is a suggested starting point for discussion, and there is no intention that it should be mandatory.
Support for the final report has been provided by the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), SEEP members, and the Secretariat of the ICAC. The contributions from each organization are very much appreciated.
Several cotton-producing countries are either using or planning to test the guidance framework, which will provide a great opportunity to improve the framework itself and to develop practical guidance information.
The full report can be accessed here.