Private Site Login



Update: Coordinating Council Meeting, Oct 2010

Staff, Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops


The Coordinating Council of the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops held a productive meeting in late October in Denver. Over the course of two days, representatives from the grower, buyer and NGO communities met to discuss the future of the Index, and to develop strategic actions for the next six months. Major outcomes of the meeting included a reaffirmation of the founding principles, a review of and decision around the metrics practice/performance debate, a commitment to review stakeholder engagement coupled with strategies for enhancing participation and outreach, and a decision to develop targeted policies around data use. What follows is a list of key agreements by those present and deliverables that were generated during the meeting.

Key Agreements

Adoption of SISC Organizational Structure and Policies 

  • The SISC Organizational Structures and Policies document was adopted, with the following revisions:
    • Criteria are established for CC membership to encourage participation.
    • Each stakeholder group (buyers, suppliers, NGOs) elects their own two Steering Committee representatives and Steering Committee is empowered to make needed decisions between full meetings, consulting the full CC when necessary.
    • Voting abstentions are considered a yes vote.
  • CC members will each adopt one of the metric workgroups to provide oversight.

Metric Progress and Communications

  • The pilot data confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements were approved.
  • Hal Hamilton of Sustainable Food Lab agreed to assess the viability of developing a “fair price” or “value chain partnership” metric and report back to the CC.
  • CC members will be given the opportunity to provide feedback on all communication materials within a 48-hour window.
  • CC members will be provided with communications material to support their effort to engage their contacts, and to ensure that we are all operating with the same message.

Practice and Performance – Defining Metrics

  • While development of outcomes-based performance metrics was the founding vision of SISC, there are some cases where the economic or scientific feasibility currently makes this extremely difficult.
  • Performance based metrics should continue to be the primary focus , but SISC should also consider practice-based metrics under certain conditions.
  • Preference should be given to practices that are correlated by evidence to specific outcomes: practices that do not reliably result in actual outcomes should not be included.
  • A draft protocol for including practices will be circulated to members of the Council for their approval, upon which it will be added as an amendment to the Organizational Structure and Policies document.
  • Metric workgroups will be asked to review current draft metrics in light of this approach.

Framework for Data Sharing Policy Discussion

  • The CC made progress in defining future uses of the SISC metrics.  While the eventual technical implementation and program to support the usage of SISC metrics remain to be determined, the following metrics usage scenarios were agreed upon: 
    • SISC will enable users to score their operations;
    • SISC will enable users to compare themselves to their peers if they wish to add their anonymized data to an aggregated data pool;
    • SISC will enable users to share their data with their customers and full supply chains, if they choose to do so;
    • SISC will share some data or results with the public.
    • Policies are needed to define these uses.

Buyer outreach

  • Outreach to all stakeholder groups needs to be strengthened if SISC is to meet broad goals.
  • Stakeholder caucuses will meet to develop outreach strategy and prospect list.