The Committee for Sustainable Assessment (COSA) presented in Copenhagen, the Hague and Brussels
There is growing interest in globally comparable measures of agricultural practices and having a credible approach to understanding what is really ‘sustainable’. The Committee for Sustainable Assessment (COSA) does just that, and the month of October 2010 saw Daniele Giovannucci present COSA to key stakeholders in northern Europe.
On the first stop on his tour Mr. Giovannucci gave the keynote address at a seminar entitled ‘The Sustainability of Future Business: a critical look at new trends in coffee and other commodities‘ organized by Danish Network for Coffee, Tea and Cocoa & the Copenhagen Business School. He presented on the importance of understanding ‘sustainability’ in order to improve investments and government policy. He also led a breakout session the theme of which was the partnership between a multinational firm, a donor, and a certification agency in order to alter the production practices in a Nicaraguan community. Participants included representatives of the Scandinavian business community, NGOs and researchers.
Mr. Giovannucci then met with key stakeholders in the Hague, Netherlands to discuss how the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) can be utilized by government agencies to manage their procurement requirements in such as way as to embody and support sustainability. By requiring compliance with specific sustainability indicators that COSA measures governments can meet their sustainability objectives while avoiding any bias for a specific firm or certification. This meeting, entitled, ‘Integrating Measures of Sustainability into Development Objectives and into Procurement‘, was organized by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, the Royal Dutch Coffee and Tea Association, and the Tropical Commodity Coalition (TCC).
On October 5, COSA was presented to the European Commission’s Communication on Sustainable Development Conference – ‘Sustainability Assurance Schemes: Do They Work And How Do We Know?‘ Representatives of the EC, leading members of the business community, and standards initiatives met in Brussels to discuss recent advances in the collection and dissemination of information regarding the effects of sustainability initiatives. COSA’s Executive Director Daniele Giovannucci was invited by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee to present the workings of COSA and to share some of the early findings.
His presentation, ‘Understanding the Sustainability of Agriculture: A critical look at new measures‘ was well received and triggered an hour long discussion among the many interested parties. The meeting was supported by the leading members of the European Tea, Coffee and Cocoa Associations who are increasingly interested in the realistic understanding of the effects of the many sustainability initiatives.
The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Trade for Sustainable Development Group (Willem van der Geest and Joe Wozniak) also discussed their new web-based platform providing a neutral space for the understanding and comparison of standards and its collaboration with COSA to provide key empirical data.