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Initiatives of Producer to Consumer Sustainability

Too often these agendas develop separately – in different geographies and with different stakeholders. Yet they are fundamentally interlinked and interdependent.

SEI Initiative on Producer to Consumer Sustainability

The SEI Initiative on Producer to Consumer Sustainability (P2CS) is an SEI-wide research programme that connects the sustainable production and sustainable consumption agendas.

Too often these agendas develop separately – in different geographies and with different stakeholders. Yet they are fundamentally interlinked and interdependent.

P2CS explores the links and interactions within production-to-consumption systems – encompassing global flows of commodities and the impacts, dependencies and wider dynamics associated with production and consumption – in order to find new opportunities to enhance their sustainability.


In its first phase, from 2015 to 2016, P2CS invested in two key strands of work, one focused on improved data and modelling of the environmental impacts of production-to-consumption systems and the other focused on how different actors determine supply chain dynamics, to better understand the governance of production, trade and consumption processes.

Initiative banner image
Photos: Rainforest Action Network / Kenneth Lu / Yuek Hahn  / Flickr.

This led to a number of achievements:

  • Enhanced tools and methods to estimate the environmental impacts of production-to-consumption systems, through research by Godar et al. (2016) and Croft et al. (2018). This led to the development of the supply chain transparency platform, launched at COP22; the Klimatkalkylatorn online household carbon footprint calculator, which has been used by more than 300 000 visitors; and the PRINCE model and footprint indicators for Sweden; along with improvements and integrations of the IOTA footprinting model (see Models and decision-support tools for more information).
  • A review of supply chain sustainability and transparency by Gardner et al. (2018), identifying some of the shortfalls and systematic biases in existing information systems, and principles for fostering a more positive, transformative transparency that embraces both supply-side and demand-side agendas.
  • Research into how commodity value chain actors themselves view the limitations of private regulation and the prospects for more effective supply chain governance in a single supply chain (oil palm exported from Indonesia to Europe). This work identified the need for a pluralistic strategy that mobilizes the combined positive forces of civil society, business and government(s) in both consumer and producer economies Larsen et al. (2018).

Ongoing work

In its second phase (2017–2018), P2CS aims to further advance our whole-system understanding of production and consumption. This includes further exploring the impacts of production at the local scale; modelling the environmental and economy-wide impacts of shifts in production or consumption patterns; strengthening SEI ́s capacity to model the sustainability of production-to-consumption systems; and extending trade-flow modelling applications into new sectors, including cargo shipping and the finance of global trade systems. In this phase, P2CS also has a strong focus on consumption impacts and consumer behaviour at sub-national scales.

Although the second phase is still underway, the team has already produced a number of research outputs, such as an analysis of the environmental and economic impacts of downshifting (Ghosh and Kemp-Benedict 2018)) and a highly detailed calculation of international shipping emissions produced when linking major producing regions to consumers in Europe, North America and Asia (Schim van der Loeff et al. 2018).

Further outputs will follow as the 13 seed projects funded by P2CS in its second phase (see box) produce their research insights and findings.

Follow the links below for more about the work of P2CS.

13 seed projects

  • Understanding perspectives of sustainability and climate risk – making supply chains work for smallholders.
  • The environmental impacts of Brazilian livestock production for domestic and international consumers.
  • Improving SEI’s ability to assess the consumption-based environmental impacts at local scales.
  • Understanding systems of consumption.
  • Transport emissions from shipping.
  • Finance of global commodity chains.
  • Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of trade and consumption-impact modelling.
  • Critical appraisal of the role and use of indicators in discourses around sustainable production and consumption.
  • Producers and consumer: a macroeconomic view.
  • Exploring opportunities for citizen science approaches within producer to consumer research.
  • Scoping study on understanding gendered experiences of rubber production and sustainable certification in Thailand.
  • The story of sustainable textiles.
  • Mapping the environmental and social risks, challenges and opportunities in the gold supply chain for electronics.

Source: Stockholm Environment Institute

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