Weston Roundtable – Fidelity in Zero-Deforestation Cattle Supply Chains
Speakers: Marin Skidmore, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Marcos Barrozo, PhD Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School
Near 80 percent of the trees cut down and burned each year in the Brazilian Amazon are cleared to make space for cattle pastures. More than a decade ago, some of the world’s largest meatpacking companies committed to change their practices to help end deforestation. However, to date, Brazil’s Zero-Deforestation Cattle Agreements have failed to slow deforestation because monitoring is narrow and does not include the full supply chain. Pressure for expanded monitoring is mounting as the European Union regulation to ensure deforestation-free agricultural imports moves forward.
Assessing the potential for expanding monitoring requires an understanding of cattle supply chain actors and the strength of their relationships. Here we leverage a large database of cattle transactions to characterize the fidelity in three types of relationships: between fattening farms and slaughterhouses (direct), between rearing farms and fattening farms (indirect-fattening), and between calving ranches and rearing farms (indirect-calving). We identify nodes of opportunity and risk for future policy.
The Weston Roundtable is made possible by a generous donation from Roy F. Weston, a highly accomplished UW-Madison alumnus. Designed to promote a robust understanding of sustainability science, engineering, and policy, these interactive lectures are co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Office of Sustainability.