Sara Elder

Research Interests


Sara Elder is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC. She specializes in understanding the local social and environmental impacts of global supply chain governance, with a focus on agricultural producers and workers in the global South. Her work bridges theoretical insights from development studies, sustainable food systems, and private governance, while being rooted in field research with commodity producers. She has led projects in Rwanda and Nicaragua, and worked with communities in Bolivia, South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. She is active in publishing her scholarly contributions, and is dedicated to mobilizing scientific knowledge in policy, including through her postdoctoral work with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and as a Technical Officer with the International Labour Organization. She is currently leading research on the impact of voluntary sustainability standards on market access and poverty of smallholder farmers with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). She is committed to effective teaching and mentoring, and is currently designing a new course in socio-ecological systems research for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience conducting interdisciplinary research. She holds a PhD in Resources, Environment and Sustainability from UBC (2016), an MA in Resource Management and Environmental Studies (UBC, 2010) and a BA in International Relations (UBC, 2004).