Project: Environmental Policy Instruments across Commodity Chains (EPICC): Comparing multi-level governance for Biodiversity Protection and Climate Action in Brazil, Colombia, and Indonesia

Acronym EPICC- (Reference Number: BiodivClim-641)
Duration 15/12/2020 - 14/04/2024
Project Topic If not well governed, large scale agri-food production and mineral extraction lead to biodiversity loss and exacerbate to climate change. They may also generate or intensify social and political conflicts at the local level. Despite the visibility of the risks, land-use change for intensive agriculture and mineral extraction continues to increase in pace, in direct clash with the Paris Agreement and the private and public commitments to the SDGs and the Agenda 2030. These environmental and social issues are often made invisible by long value chains. However, in Europe and elsewhere there is a rising demand for adopting safeguards for biodiversity and human rights protection in countries of origin of these ‘risky commodities’ and for leveraging value chains node to effectively respond to these multiple threats. Our trans-disciplinary project focuses on six different commodity chains originating in three biodiversity-rich countries (Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia) and ending in the European market. The project adopts a network mapping and multi-level governance approach to assess the existence and effectiveness of regulatory and business strategies, bottom-up and top-down programmes, policies and standards aimed at protecting biodiversity and implementing climate mitigation or adaptation. Moving along (vertically) and across (horizontally) these chains, the project provides a unique opportunity to map consistency, tensions and trade-offs. In addition, because these chains end in Europe, we aim to bring to light the governance space, the rationale, the legitimacy and the implications of a European intervention. Through six coordinated but independent working packages, the EPICC ‘s ouble focus on agri-food and mining offers a deep and complex picture of how multi-level governance and sustainable programs operate in chains characterized by local tensions, contending rationalities and that may intensify irreversible processes of biodiversity loss, climate change and pandemics. We use a common multi-actor stakeholder network analysis, direct engage with key actors (e.g. small-scale producers, workers, corporations, governments) and assess the agency and power that actors have to mobilize resources and influence sustainable production, consumption and procurement. Finally, identify leverage points for negotiation to maximize synergies between actors within and across transnational value chains while minimizing the trade-offs with other policy goals. We go beyond single-sector value chains or single policy instruments and will conduct a multi-layered, holistic and transnational mapping of power and governance to reveal lessons and contradictions at the intersection of political economy, socio-cultural dynamics and rapid ecological change. We will make a substantial contribution to the understanding of how to effectively address ecological challenges while ensuring local communities’ capacities to adapt, influence and redirect policy in salient ways.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
EPICC applies a polycentric governance and environmental justice approach to investigate four selected commodity chains (cattle, palm oil, gold and tin) that ‘feed’ the European market. EPICC seeks to map the governance and power links that connect the multiple territories of production and transformation and their plural legal systems with the European regulatory, political and socio-economic space. By doing so, EPICC identifies and analyses leverage points (chokeholds) and blind spots, and sheds light on the micro and macro conditions that may facilitate the mitigation of environmental and social impacts that occur at the selected locations of production (in Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia).
Network BiodivERsA3
Call 2019-2020 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Antwerp Faculty of Law Coordinator Belgium
2 Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research Partner Germany
3 Norwegian University of Science and Technology Partner Norway
4 Universitas Gadjah Mada Observer Indonesia
5 Universidade Federal Fluminense Partner Brazil
6 Lund University Partner Sweden
7 Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina Partner Brazil