Raddis®s First FairAugust 25, 2021
Raddis® represents systemic change in cotton value chainSeptember 21, 2022
How we measure our positive impact
COTTON FOR GOOD
When you think about cotton, what comes to mind? For many, it’s cotton the water guzzler, cotton the pesticide consumer, cotton associated with child- or forced labour. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We know cotton has so much to offer, as long as it has been grown and cultivated the right way.
MEASUREMENTS OF POSITIVE IMPACT
At Raddis Cotton, we are obsessed with creating positive impacts for people and the planet. And to do this well we need to have the numbers to back up our vision and support our partners. This means defining the change we want to see, and identifying the practical metrics we can use to track our progress.
When creating these impact measurements, it's important to consider the kind of data we need (e.g. qualitative or quantitative), the resources we have to undertake the assessments, the methods we'll use and the frequency in which we'll collect data and analyse data. Data ranges from:
socio-economic indicators such as
- Change in household income,
- Change in children education,
- Change in spending on healthcare etc.
and/or bio-physical indicators such as
- soil carbon,
- pH level or soil organic matter?
LEARNING BY DOING
There is no one standard for impact measurements and the process can be very costly, for example when lab testing is done or when baseline studies must be conducted.
This means that we have to strike a balance between using our resources to create positive impact and to measure it.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), which seeks to measure the environmental impacts associated with a product from material extraction to disposal, can be a good next step. However this can be very costly and often still based on assumptions. We are looking for the real numbers within our own context to understand whether our efforts are resulting in impact and if so, how much?
For us this is an ongoing journey where we keep learning by doing, co-creating with partners while getting closer and closer to what we are looking for: Real tangible positive impact, easy to measure but most of all clearly visible in the field and throughout the supply chain!
OUR STARTING POINTS
We have set our starting points with great consideration, and we came up with the following list of impact indicators and what we base these data on.
We are currently reporting on:
- Women empowerment – estimated by the number of female farmers enrolled and trained
- Acres under regeneration – measured by the number of acres enrolled
- CO2 sequestration in the soil – estimated by an initial carbon credit baseline study we did basing its assumption on the amount of farmyard manure (FYM) that is returned to the soil
- CO2 taken from atmosphere – calculated based on the CO2 sequestration estimation by multiplying by the ratio of the molecular weight of carbon dioxide to that of carbon (44/12)
- Water footprint reduction – estimated based on water saving from not using irrigation but only rainwater, average 2500 litres per kg of raw cotton calculated for irrigated cotton.
- Toxic pesticide, herbicide and insecticide removed – estimated based on 485 grams synthetic pesticide, herbicide or fungicide per acre of cotton in conventional system
- Chemical fertilizers removed – estimated based on 109.7 kg per of fertilizer per acre of cotton in conventional system
- Percentage reduced spending on inputs/ cost of cultivation - Reduced spending on inputs by self-preparation of natural plant and disease management aids and soil amendments, estimations based on our own findings throughout the years
- Percentage premium on raw cotton (direct additional income) - Premium on top of raw cotton (local) market price – based on our yearly procurement details
- Average increase of family income - Increase in family income compared to the reference year, income increase from cotton and other crops in the food & fibre Raddis®System, estimations based on our own findings throughout the years
We are constantly seeking to improve our approach to measurement. We founded the Circular Cotton Cascade Consortium: a group of 13 organisations, which explores multiple usage of cotton through collaboration based on co-creation, trust and purpose. Part of the research question is about selecting the right impact indicators as a consortium and associated stakeholders.
FROM NEGATIVE FOOTPRINT TO POSITIVE HANDPRINT
Whilst we know we can’t measure everything, agricultural and farming systems are incredibly complex, we’re proud of the work we’ve done to date helping farmers shift from a degenerative system to a regenerative system: every gram of pesticide, every seed of GMO, every kg of synthetic fertilizer not used is a win for human and environmental health.
Together with our partners we actively work on our positive handprint instead of decreasing a negative footprint .
If you have additional remarks or questions, please contact us: email@example.com