Conference Agenda

302RA: The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation - Part A
Thursday, 25/Apr/2019:
3:15pm - 4:45pm

Session Chair: Rachael Garrett
Session Chair: Eric F. Lambin
Session Chair: Kimberly Marie Carlson
Session Chair: Robert Heilmayr
Session Chair: Ximena Rueda
Location: MB-220
Main Building, room 220, second floor, west wing, 154 (+22) seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Expansion of commodity production has driven substantial deforestation in recent years. In response to pressure from civil society, lenders, and consumers over the corporate role in this forest loss, many companies that are part of tropical commodity supply chains have made commitments to environmentally friendly sourcing. These pledges often aim to alter land use in production landscapes to eliminate deforestation, protect local rights to land, and/or conserve biodiversity and carbon. Commitments are implemented through a variety of supply chain policies including sustainability certifications, market exclusion mechanisms, supply chain transparency disclosures, and corporate codes of conduct. Recent research demonstrates that fully implemented supply-chain interventions can have measurable impacts on producer behaviour and deforestation rates within target supply chains. However, these impacts vary widely by commodity and region of implementation and are insufficient to end global deforestation. Impact evaluations of supply chain governance have largely focused on estimating the direct effects of these policies. Questions about the relative effectiveness of different policies, spillovers of impacts from private governance, interactions with government policies, and unintended social consequences of private environmental policies have all been identified as requiring further research. Empirical analyses of implementation mechanisms and direct and indirect effects on land systems are critical for informing corporate supply chain policy design, as well as developing theoretical understanding of non-state market-driven governance. This session will present the current state of empirical research evaluating the impacts of supply chain governance of land use. The selected empirical evaluations will address questions such as 1) How are supply chain initiatives being designed and implemented? 2) Under what conditions are supply chain governance initiatives effective at meeting their stated goals? 3) What are the unintended consequences of supply chain initiatives on land systems? 4) How does private supply chain governance interact with public policy? The session will highlight the complex policy ecosystems in which zero-deforestation commitments are implemented and how multiple, parallel initiatives influence commitment effectiveness. Session Organizers: Kimberly Carlson, Rachael Garrett, Robert Heilmayr, Eric Lambin, and Ximena Rueda

External Resource: - SESSION RECORDING -
Full talk
ID: 246 / 302RA: 1
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: Agriculture; supply chain; conservation; voluntary environmental policies; sustainability standards

Designing effective deforestation policies in food supply chains

Rachael Garrett1, Sam Levy1, Kimberley Carlson2, Ximena Rueda3

1Boston University, United States of America; 2University of Hawaii, United States of America; 3Universidad de los Andes

Zero-deforestation commitments are a type of voluntary sustainability initiative that companies have increasingly adopted to signal their intention to reduce or eliminate deforestation associated with commodities that they produce, trade, and/or sell. Because each company defines its own zero-deforestation commitment goals and implementation mechanisms, commitment content varies widely. Here, we synthesize existing empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these commitments based on a systematic review of the literature. We then present a set of criteria to assess the expected effectiveness of a zero-deforestation commitment within individual company supply chains, regionally, and globally. We use these assessment criteria to evaluate existing zero-deforestation commitments and provide recommendations for how they might be improved. In the systematic literature review we find limited evidence that market exclusion mechanisms and certification programs associated with zero-deforestation commitments are reducing deforestation. The greatest success has occurred in soybean and coffee supply chains, while efforts in other commodity supply chains (beef, cacao, bananas, etc..) have resulted in mixed results or have too few rigorous evaluations to assess outcomes. In the assessment of current commitments, we find moderate convergence with most of the assessment criteria, but several key weaknesses that reduce the likelihood that they will eliminate deforestation at any scale. First, about half of the commitments set zero-net deforestation targets, which allow promises of future reforestation to compensate for forest loss. Second, most commitments have future deadlines, which allows for preemptive clearing. Finally, commitments rely primarily on sustainable certification programs that have limited adoption and put the burden for proving compliance on producers. A broader challenge influencing expected effectiveness of existing commitments is a lack of transparency about compliance with policies to allow for third-party oversight. Effectiveness of commitments can be increased if more companies adopt zero-gross deforestation targets, immediate implementation deadlines, clear sanction-based implementation mechanisms, that include accountability for indirect suppliers and transparency about activities. Simultaneous adoption of standardized commitments by competing companies can both improve effectiveness and reduce the adoption costs and risks for individual companies.

Full talk
ID: 252 / 302RA: 2
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: land use governance, sustainability standards, jurisdictional approaches, zero deforestation commitments

Scaling up land use interventions through policy interactions

Eric F. Lambin

University of Louvain, Belgium, & Stanford University, USA

New partnerships between governments, private companies and non-governmental organizations are reshaping land use governance. In particular, there has been a rise of voluntary sustainability standards in an attempt to manage social and environmental impacts of global supply chains. This has led to a policy ecosystem characterized by a proliferation of standards that complement, substitute or compete against each other, with coordination mechanisms beginning to arise. A major challenge is the scaling up of policy interventions that are specific to a region, commodity or land use, to lead to systemic transformations of land use. I will show that multiple interventions can have synergistic effects and reinforce each other to lead to more sustainable land use. The amplification mechanisms that create tipping points of adoption of new land use practices include public policies that support voluntary sustainability standards or make them mandatory, and commitments by dominant private companies that impose sustainability standards across their value chains. I will provide examples of policy mixes to reduce tropical deforestation that combine command-and-control and voluntary approaches, area-based and supply chain initiatives, and sanctions and incentives. These policy mixes help ensuring legal compliance, reaching marginal forest users, minimizing leakage, and improving transparency in attemps to reduce deforestation. Jurisdictional approaches to achieve sustainable land use formalize interactions between public and private actors involved in land use. Under a jurisdictional approach, adherence to social and environmental criteria is required for an entire geographical region. By leveraging both public and private incentives, governments, NGOs and companies claim they co-create “sustainability havens”. Better understanding how new regulations interact with the pre-exisiting policy ecosystem help designing more effective interventions.

Full talk
ID: 785 / 302RA: 3
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: coffee, private sector governance, supply chain, sustainability, voluntary sustainability strategies (VSS)

Mapping Sustainability in the Global Coffee Sector: Relationships, transparency, and differentiation, but not yet sustainability

Simon L. Bager1,2, Eric F. Lambin1,3

1Université Catholique de Louvain, Faculty of Sciences, Earth and Life Institute (ELI), Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research (TECLIM), 3 Place Louis Pasteur, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; 2Copenhagen University, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen K., Denmark; 3Stanford University, School of Earth, Energy & Environment Sciences and Woods Institute for the Environment, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

Agri-industrial companies' strategies for sourcing commodities can help address social and environmental challenges in the supply chain. Companies apply various types of private governance mechanisms, e.g. code of conduct, certifications, and internal standards, to address these issues and reduce risk to their supply chains. With companies along the coffee supply chain historically at the forefront of employing novel private governance mechanisms to address these issues, the focus of this research is on current practices in the global coffee sector.

From an initial sample of ~2300 companies and analysing information from several hundred companies, we systematically explore the current approaches to addressing sustainability for companies engaged in the global coffee supply chains, including producers, traders, roasters, processers, and cafés. Based on publicly available information, we collect independent and dependent variables for each company in a database. Using cluster analysis and multinomial logistic regression, we analyse the strategies applied by the companies, taking into account the size supply chain position, location, and customer segment to identify common sustainability practices, existing gaps, and novel approaches.

We find that across the global coffee sector, a substantial amount of sustainability practices are undertaken. About one third of companies do not undertake any practices at all, while 25% lead the way through adoption of practices and/or certification(s). We find that the sustainability strategy pursued is the results of the company’s size and position along the supply chain, as well as stakeholder pressure. Large companies address sustainability via an internal code of conduct and adoption of sustainability practices, while small companies adopt external certification scheme(s). Further, some companies are relying on direct trade, while others promoting radical transparency. Several sustainability issues remain un- or under addressed by most companies across the GCVC, including aspects related to deforestation, land use, biodiversity, and child labour.

Full talk
ID: 473 / 302RA: 4
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: environmental governance, sustainable supply chains, marked-based mechanisms, tropical deforestation, trade

The global reach of zero-deforestation supply chain commitments

Florian Gollnow1, Rachael D. Garrett2, Kimberly M. Carlson3

1National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), University of Maryland, 1 Park Place, Suite 300, Annapolis, MD, 21401, United States; 2Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University, 685 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA, 02215, USA; 3Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, HI, USA

Agricultural expansion for increasing food, fuel, feed, and fiber demand is a major cause of natural ecosystem conversion worldwide. Large-scale soybean and oil palm production and cattle ranching are among the most important land uses driving tropical deforestation. Many companies trading these so-called forest-risk commodities have adopted zero-deforestation supply chain commitments (ZDCs) –pledges to exclude commodities produced by suppliers that have recently cleared or are actively clearing forests – as part of their corporate responsibility strategies. Recent research has improved our theoretical understanding of the conditions under which ZDCs are likely to be effective in reducing deforestation. Yet, a lack of knowledge about committed companies’ commodity sourcing patterns inhibits assessment of the likely reach and effectiveness of these commitments. Here, we merge commodity sourcing maps and company commitment reports from Trase (, Forest500 (, Supply-Change (, and selected commodity certification schemes for some of the most important forest-risk commodity production regions in South America and South East Asia for the years 2010 to 2016. We analyze companies sourcing patterns to examine relationships between the locations of commitments and hotspots of high deforestation risk, biodiversity, and carbon storage. This analysis increases our understanding of the spatial coverage and potential impact of ZDCs for ecosystem conservation. To evaluate whether ZDCs are likely to provide additional forest protection beyond business as usual, we compare commitment characteristics to indicators of forest governance across sourcing regions. This analysis allows us to identify which regions are likely to have the highest potential positive additional conservation benefits from ZDCs.

Full talk
ID: 654 / 302RA: 5
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: Motivations; deforestation frontier; land-use-change; Colombia; Payment for Ecosystem Services

Beyond proximate and distal causes of land-use change: Linking Individual Motivations to Deforestation in Rural Contexts

Ximena Rueda1, Maria Alejandra Velez1, Lina Moros1, Luz Rodriguez2

1Universidad de los Andes, Colombia; 2Universidad Javeriana, Colombia

Most of the literature on the causes of tropical deforestation has focused on the social, economic, cultural, and institutional factors that induce agents to change land uses. These have been recognized as the proximate and distal causes of deforestation. Nevertheless, research exploring the psychological drivers of deforestation (i.e., motivations) is still scant, despite being crucial for understanding individual decision-making within social-ecological systems. In this article, we study the combined effect of structural and individual causes of deforestation, with particular emphasis on motivations, for a sample of rural households in Colombia’s foremost tropical deforestation frontier. To measure motivations, we implement a new instrument based on the self-determination theory. Our findings show that, in addition to the structural and household drivers widely identified in the deforestation literature, intrinsic, guilt, and social motivations positively correlate with less self-reported deforestation. Also,a-motivated people are more likely to deforest, as well as people concerned with food security issues. Extrinsic motives such as expected payments or expected fines do not seem to have an effect in the decision to clear the forest. These findings are crucial for designing payment fo ecosystem services and other market-driven incentives like the ones being proposed for this deforestation hotspot.