Sustainability standards in global agrifood supply chains

Eva Marie Meemken, Christopher B. Barrett, Hope C. Michelson, Matin Qaim, Thomas Reardon, Jorge Sellare

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Agrifood supply chains contribute to many environmental and social problems. Sustainability standards—rules that supply chain actors may follow to demonstrate their commitment to social equity and/or environmental protection—aim to mitigate such problems. We provide a narrative review of the effects of many distinct sustainability standards on different supply chain actors spanning multiple crops. Furthermore, we discuss five emerging questions—causality, exclusion, compliance and monitoring, excess supply and emerging country markets—and identify directions for future research. We find that, while sustainability standards can help improve the sustainability of production processes in certain situations, they are insufficient to ensure food system sustainability at scale, nor do they advance equity objectives in agrifood supply chains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-765
Number of pages8
JournalNature Food
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science


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