Sustainable supply chains

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Sustainable supply chains

Emerging voluntary sustainability standards (e.g. certification and commodity round tables), as well as private self-regulatory commitments (e.g. zero deforestation) aimed at enhancing the social and environmental performance of commodity production are being increasingly adopted to support sustainable supply in order to reduce negative social and environmental outcomes of commodity production.

These initiatives differ in their approaches, scope and targets, conflicting in some cases and complementing government-backed efforts in others, with smallholders and small- and medium-sized enterprises often being excluded as they lack the capacity to comply. This calls for exploring antagonisms and synergies between different types of regulatory instruments and private initiatives, as well as for identifying approaches with potential for scaling up, such as territorial or jurisdictional approaches, to facilitate a wider uptake of improved production and protection practices at the landscape level.

Current and planned key research activities on enabling sustainable commodity supply chains are:
Assessing the implications of certification systems with emphasis on the performance of auditing procedures, such as the case of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC);
Examining the emerging public and private institutional arrangements in the governance of palm oil supply associated with the implementation of international and national standards;
Analyzing the potential of private commitments to sustainability, including zero deforestation, and their social risks for smallholder integration in supply chains;
Identifying governance options for reducing deforestation by learning from the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process implemented by the European Union, aimed at tackling illegal logging;
Assessing options for transitioning to more sustainable landscapes, including territorial approaches linking both supply chain and landscape management interventions.

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