Drivers of agricultural supply chain environmental governance

Hundreds of companies associated with agricultural supply chains originating in the tropics have committed to avoiding “un-sustainable” products, such as crops grown on recently deforested lands. Since such corporate supply chain pledges are relatively new, and because data on where companies source their products has only recently become available, the characteristics of actors that adopt these initiatives, as well as the distribution of these policies across space, are not well known. Our group’s research focuses on understanding the patterns and drivers of voluntary environmental governance initiative adoption and implementation in agricultural commodity supply chains. Below is an example of research that falls under this theme.

Assessing the Influence of Zero Deforestation Supply-Chain Commitments on the Conservation of Ecosystems

Funding: National Science Foundation Geography and Spatial Sciences & National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center

Collaborators: Rachael Garrett & Nelson Villoria

Location: South America and Southeast Asia

Description: International agricultural supply chains originating in the tropics are the focus of diverse efforts, such as zero-deforestation commitments by companies, to improve the sustainability of agriculture. Many of these initiatives rely on sourcing products that are certified as sustainable by third parties who frequently employ practice-based standards. Yet, the effects of such non-state market based governance initiatives on environmental and social outcomes remain largely untested. This project broadly examines how novel environmental governance initiatives levied on tropical agriculture alter land use and livelihoods. To do so, we are modeling the potential impacts of zero-deforestation commitments in the soybean sector of South America and the oil palm sector in Southeast Asia.