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Tracking Corporate Actors Across Space and Time

Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 69 are corporations. The supply chains of transnational corporations cross oceans and borders, shunting immense amounts of resources around the globe. These supply chains are the lifeblood of the global economy, but they often cause negative environmental change and social dislocation where they touch down. Bringing transparency to corporate supply chains can motivate companies to improve their production practices, source more sustainability, and reduce reputational risk. However, supply chains are notoriously opaque. This means corporations lack critical information to produce sustainably and consumers lack information to consume more ethically.

This talk provides an overview of the state of the art of methods to track supply chains and link them to social and environmental harms. Through examples from the forestry and agricultural sectors, I show how academics are contributing to broader movements to hold corporations accountable for unsustainable business practices. Enhanced transparency can help the large corporations that move and shape the global economy become more sustainable, aiding them in becoming catalysts for broader sectoral change.

dr. Benjamin Goldstein

Dr. Benjamin Goldstein

Benjamin Goldstein is an assistant professor of Bioresource Engineering. He is the lead research at the Lab for Sustainable Urban-Rural Futures (SURF Lab). The SURF Lab develops methods to measure and map the environmental impacts of cities both inside and outside cities. Research interests include urban food systems, urban resource consumption, and the corporate supply chains that underpin modern urban life.

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