Environmental Policy Instruments across Commodity Chains Multilevel governance for Biodiversity-Climate in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia.
Context: The conversion of natural ecosystems for agricultural land use and minerals? extraction is one of the main drivers of global biodiversity loss. At the same time, deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics is the second largest source of global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Despite the scientific evidence about agriculture and mining as major threats to biodiversity and the global climate, the frontiers of global value chains continue to be expanded into tropical forests, causing deforestation, forest degradation and biodiversity loss.
The planetary organization of value chains is part of the problem: it intensifies the need for meat and minerals, increases the distance between the locations of extraction and production, and places of processing and final consumption. This telecoupling disconnects spaces of consumption with the local socio-ecological impacts of production. In the last years, consumers, governments and companies based in the EU are increasingly looking for solutions to address environmental and social externalities of imported commodities such as meat and minerals. This renewed sensitivity has led to new regulations (e.g., the EU FLEGT), but also transnational corporations to adopt best practices guidelines and certification schemes (e.g., Fairmined).
Main objective(s): EPICC applies a polycentric governance and environmental justice approach to investigate four selected commodity chains (cattle, palm oil, gold and tin) that ?feed? the European market. EPICC seeks to map the governance and power links that connect the multiple territories of production and transformation and their plural legal systems with the European regulatory, political and socio-economic space. By doing so, EPICC identifies and analyzes leverage points (chokeholds) and blind spots, and sheds light on the micro and macro conditions that may facilitate the mitigation of environmental and social impacts that occur at the selected locations of production (in Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia).
Stakeholder Engagement and dissemination: EPICC pursues a multi-actor and transdisciplinary approach. Stakeholder involvement is thus one key aspect in each phase of the planned research project. Commodity chain actors are one of the main target groups and include all actors that shape, implement and are bound by governance structures along the selected commodity chains - from individual workers and owners to consumers, passing through traders, retailers, contractors, national and local governments, and inter-governmental organizations such as the EU.
Project results will be prepared for dissemination in the following formats: i) EPICC project website, including data storage and exchange structure, ii) target group tailored materials in writing (e.g. policy briefs, newspaper articles, short videos), iii) academic publications; iv) policy briefs aimed at relevant stakeholders in the three countries of origin and translated; v) symposia, conference participation and stakeholder workshops in the respective countries.
Our trans-disciplinary project focuses on six different commodity chains originating in three biodiversity-rich countries (Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia) and ending in the European market. The project adopts a network mapping and multi-level governance approach to assess the existence and effectiveness of regulatory and business strategies, bottom-up and top-down programmes, policies and standards aimed at protecting biodiversity and implementing climate mitigation or adaptation. Moving along (vertically) and across (horizontally) these chains, the project provides a unique opportunity to map consistency, tensions and trade-offs. In addition, because these chains end in Europe, w e aim to bring to light the governance space, the rationale, the legitimacy and the implications of a European intervention.
Through six coordinated but independent working packages, the EPICC ‘s double focus on agri-food and mining offers a deep and complex picture of how multi-level governance and sustainable programs operate in chains characterized by local tensions, contending rationalities and that may intensify irreversible processes of biodiversity loss, climate change and pandemics. We use a common multi-actor stakeholder network analysis, direct engage with key actors (e.g. small-scale producers, workers, corporations, governments) and assess the agency and power that actors have to mobilize resources and influence sustainable production, consumption and procurement. Finally, identify leverage points for negotiation to maximize synergies between actors within and across transnational value chains while minimizing the trade-offs with other policy goals.