A variety of factors influence whether a corporate sustainability commitment “works” – in other words, whether it successfully achieves its intended sustainability outcomes across targeted geographies and supply chain actors.

The Research Fund convened a small group of researchers to develop a framework of contextual factors that influence the effectiveness of corporate sustainability commitments. The framework offers a better understanding of when and why supply chain sustainability initiatives adopted by companies and producers in the forestry and food sectors improve conservation and sustainability outcomes.


The framework identifies several categories of influencing factors, including the ambition and coverage of the commitment (e.g., desired outcomes, stringency, and reach of proposed changes), implementation mechanisms (e.g., type of incentive, implementation timeline and procedures for verifying), and implementation context (e.g., market or supply chain characteristics, producer and household attributes).

To understand how these factors influence implementation of supply chain sustainability initiatives in specific contexts, the Research Fund supported research exploring factors influencing effectiveness in global supply chains. The studies provide in-depth exploration of the influence and interplay of these factors on the capacity of initiatives focused on West African cocoa, Indonesian palm oil, Brazilian beef, and United States-grown cotton to achieve their anticipated outcomes.