Effectiveness-equity tradeoffs in enforcing exclusionary supply chain policies: Lessons from the Amazonian cattle sector

Federico Cammelli, Samuel A. Levy, Janina Grabs, Judson Ferreira Valentim, Rachael D. Garrett
2022
DOI number
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.130031
#Agriculture and food
#Environment and climate change

To address ongoing deforestation for global food commodities production, companies and governments have adopted a range of forest-focused supply chain policies. In the Brazilian Amazon, these policies take the form of market exclusion mechanisms, i.e., immediately dropping suppliers who have cleared their land after a specific cut-off date. Theory suggests that strict exclusionary policies such as these are likely to result in both negative livelihood effects and reduced effectiveness of the policy if some farmers are not able to comply. It is proposed that a more cooperative model of enforcement that uses flexible and negotiated approaches to compliance management may enable more marginal and disadvantaged farmers to achieve compliance, thereby improving both the effectiveness of supply chain policies and their equity. Through our case study of cattle in the Brazilian Amazon, we examine the degree to which a purportedly cooperative supply chain policy exhibits coercive tendencies at different tiers and the degree to which these tendencies influence effectiveness and equity outcomes of the policy. We show that, surprisingly, even cooperative models of enforcement are prone to exhibit coercive tendencies in multi-tier supply chains, leading to severe equity shortcomings. We provide recommendations and a research agenda to mitigate effectiveness-equity tradeoffs in multi-tier, forest-focused supply chain policies in the aim to improve the design, adoption, and implementation of such policies.

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