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The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) provides accurate measurement of recognized sustainability indicators along social, economic and environmental lines. It has a unique pedigree.
COSA Indicators emerged from a 6 stage process:
The result is Field Surveys that capture the necessary data for the selected indicators. These include in general terms:
More specifically, they include valuable information such as market access, governance, community relations, product quality, credit availability, and even perception of benefits. Most of the data sets further benefit from the option to look at specific areas of cross referencing for education, gender, distance to market, type of agro-ecological zone, wealth, and much more.
Some interesting data is emerging from the COSA fieldwork. Even in its simplest raw form, it can be evocative. For example, in Colombia, the initial baseline study showed surprising outcomes in one of the most important factors: crop yields (see figure).
The results need to be confirmed with at least one more annual survey to have a high level of certainty. Nevertheless, if the results prove to be true even the most simple economic implications are considerable. For example, if only 20% of current coffee of farmers adopted a certification and assuming it is the least productive of those shown (the one denoted as "C" with only15% greater yields than the comparable average conventional farmer in yellow) then the annual increase in value for those producers (or for exports) would be US$ 49 Million (at 2009 prices).
See the full set of COSA farm-level indicators here.