One of our key priorities at OCA is measuring the impact of our work on organic cotton producing communities and our shared environmental challenges. We believe that organic cotton can have a powerful and positive effect on people, planet and prosperity. However, in order to fully realise this positive effect, we need consistent, credible and comparable impact data across the full range of sustainable cotton standards, programmes and codes. A uniformed data approach is paramount as it encourages more brands and retailers to invest in a switch to organic cotton.

Since 2019, OCA has been working collaboratively towards this approach with fellow sustainable cotton standards, programmes and codes via the ‘Cotton 2040 Impacts Alignment Working Group’, aligning sustainability impact indicators and metrics for cotton farming systems. The working group included: The Better Cotton Initiative; Cotton Connect; Cotton Made in Africa; Fairtrade; MyBMP; Textile Exchange, with advisory input from ICAC, the ISEAL Alliance and funding support from Laudes Foundation.

The two-year process was facilitated by international sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future as part of the Cotton 2040 Initiative, working in close collaboration with the Delta Project. All partners in this initiative have a shared ambition to harness the benefits from more aligned impact data measurement and reporting: more credible, consistent data, with reduced time, costs, and duplication of efforts for all partners across the cotton system.

Together we have contributed to the development of the Delta Framework – a core set of indicators addressing key social, economic, and environmental issues which are relevant to sustainable cotton. The Delta Framework is voluntary and intended to apply worldwide to any cotton and coffee farming system, with the potential to be expanded to other agricultural commodities over time. Ultimately this common indicator set will help brands and retailers to confidently track the impact of their sustainable cotton sourcing decisions; support upgrading of farmer services to encourage continuous improvement at farm level; and facilitate increasing transparency and communication with consumers.

OCA, along with the other working group members, has jointly-signed a Memorandum of Understanding – “The Sustainable Cotton Aligned Impacts Measurement and Reporting Joint Commitment”. This sets out our intention that the Delta Framework will become a credible and shared framework to guide impact measurement and reporting of core sustainability issues of relevance to the cotton sector.

Commenting on this significant milestone in the collaboration, Bart Vollaard, OCA Executive Director said:

“The fashion industry has a critical role to play in reversing environmental degradation and combatting social injustice. For this to happen, we need to shift our focus towards the sustainable sourcing of the crop most widely used in fashion: cotton. While there are several standards and initiatives that drive sustainability in cotton, organic being one of them, the Delta Framework creates, for the first time, a uniformed approach to align impact data metrics. This core set of indicators provides a common language that aims to showcase the collective ability of our sector to deliver a positive impact on people and the planet. At OCA, we are excited to come together with other key players from this industry to set the standards for measurable change and we look forward to piloting the framework with our farmers in the coming season.”

In 2020 and 2021 we will be continuing to work with the Delta Project team to help test and refine the indicators and data collection and reporting methodologies. This will include piloting them with farmers and local partners as soon as local circumstances allow to ensure the indicators and methodologies meet the needs of cotton farmers and our partner organisations, including retailers and brands, and also the wider cotton sector. We encourage all organisations with interests in sustainable cotton to engage with the Delta Project as it moves forward. The draft indicators are publicly available for review and testing. Wider participation across the sector will help to accelerate progress towards alignment, supporting the transition to a sustainable cotton sector. The final indicator framework, including reporting guidance, will be available in 2021.


To receive future updates about this work please contact:

Delta Project: Eliane Augareils

Cotton 2040: Farinoz Daneshpay

To find out more about the Delta Framework, please click here

Read the commitment statement here

About Cotton 2040

Cotton 2040 is a platform which aims to accelerate progress and maximise the impact of existing sustainable cotton initiatives, bringing together leading international brands and retailers, sustainable cotton standards, and other stakeholders across the value chain. Facilitated by Forum for the Future, with support from Laudes Foundation, Acclimatise, Anthesis and the World Resources Institute (WRI), Cotton 2040 envisages a sustainable global cotton industry, which is resilient in a changing climate; which uses business models that support sustainable production and livelihoods; and where sustainably produced cotton is the norm.

About the Delta Project

The Delta Project is a joint effort of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), and it is supported by the ISEAL Innovation Fund. It is seeking to create a common language on sustainability performance across a range of agriculture commodities, starting with cotton and coffee, for measuring, monitoring and reporting progress.