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Building on the research completed to date, the Supply Chain Sustainability Research Fund is focusing its current phase of research on supporting studies to broaden understanding of the circumstances in which corporate supply chain commitments are most effective. Recognizing that commitments are developed and implemented in complex environments under unique conditions, the research will focus on uncovering nuances and context surrounding corporate commitments as a tool for sustainability—informing how, where, and why they are successful or not.


Characterizing compliance in cattle supply chains: What factors encourage deforestation-free production in the Brazilian Amazon?

This research seeks to improve the understanding of the underlying factors that lead suppliers to deforest following the Cattle Agreement. Researchers will analyze farm-level adoption of and compliance with the Cattle Agreement to understand the underlying characteristics that lead direct suppliers to choose to deforest.

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Evaluating the prospects for an effective implementation of supply chain sustainability initiatives in West Africa’s cocoa sector

This research will analyze the conditions of effective implementation of supply chain sustainability initiatives in West Africa’s cocoa sector, focusing on the effectiveness of forest-related commitments of individual cocoa companies, including buyers, traders, and producers.

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Improving the broader effectiveness of zero-deforestation commitments and commodity standards

This research will assess the current status of existing corporate sustainability commitments and recommend mechanisms for improving their broader effectiveness at reducing total deforestation. The analysis will be completed for all biomes across the tropics, with special attention to Brazil and Indonesia.

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The efficacy and value generated from sustainable cotton programs in the United States

This research will explore how to catalyze more growers to produce sustainable cotton. Researchers will study the farmer, framework, and company levels of the supply chain to understand their roles and interactions, ultimately offering insights on best practices that lead to the most effective implementation of sustainable approaches to cotton production in the United States.

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To guide the research, the Research Fund has supported the development a framework that helps to identify when and why supply chain sustainability initiatives improve conservation and sustainability outcomes.

The Research Fund is not currently soliciting research proposals. Please check back for future research opportunities, as well as the release of new studies from the current phase of research in fall 2020.


Meridian Institute will host the first Research Learning and Action Symposium of the Supply Chain Sustainability Research Fund in May 2020 in Washington, DC. The Symposium will convene researchers, non-governmental organizations, and private-sector decision-makers to highlight cutting-edge research and explore factors that contribute to the effectiveness of supply chain sustainability initiatives.

To learn more about the Symposium, please contact us.