January 12, 2023: IRES Faculty Seminar with Patrick Meyfroidt (First Seminar of Term 2)

Traceability and Transparency for Improving the Sustainability of Commodity Supply Chains

Time: 12:30pm to 1:20pm

View video here.

Talk summary:

Sustainability impacts of commodity production such as agriculture and mining activities are associated to complex and often opaque supply chains connecting producers to consumers across the globe.

Here, I will present our work, in particular as part of the Trase initiative trase.earth, to improve traceability of supply chains, i.e. the capacity to map flows of products across the supply chain, and their transparency, i.e. the public disclosure of that information. We combine production, logistical infrastructure, customs and other data to map supply chains from subnational sourcing to importing countries, identify actors operating the supply chain (in particular traders), and attribute the associated sustainability impacts such as deforestation. I will present insights on supply chains including soy and beef from Brazil, and cocoa from Ivory Coast, and discuss key lessons but also caveats in how traceability and transparency can be crucial to designing, implementing and monitoring governance interventions to improve the sustainability of commodity supply chains.

Dr. Patrick Meyfroidt, Visiting Professor at IRES


Patrick Meyfroidt holds a PhD in geography (2009) and a degree in sociology from Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) in Belgium. Since 2016 he is Research Associate at the F.R.S-FNRS (the Belgian Research Funds) and Professor at UCLouvain.

His research focuses on how land use and more broadly land systems can contribute to sustainability.  He is visiting UBC (Liu Institute – SPPGA & IRES) from August 2022 to July 2023.