SEI Initiative on Producer to Consumer Sustainability - P2CS

SEI Initiative P2CS 350x175Photos from Flickr: Rainforest Action Network / Kenneth Lu / Yuek Hahn

The SEI Initiative on Producer to Consumer Sustainability (P2CS) aims to bring about a step change in the study of contemporary global trade and production to consumption systems, and to help identify new opportunities to promote sustainability.

The first decades of the 21st century have seen explosive growth in global trade – and in the use and extraction of natural and mineral resources. This has major implications for sustainable development.

Consumption and production in today’s globalized world are linked by often long, complex supply chains. These supply chains are embedded in larger production-to-consumption systems (PCSs), which are influenced by, and in turn influence, a diversity of actors and processes. Even as governments and companies, producers and consumers sign up to ambitious pledges to make supply chains more sustainable – in particular to eliminate deforestation, carbon emissions, and human rights abuses – current tools and analytical methods rarely provide the information needed to carry out effective action.

WATCH: Toby Gardner introducing the latest enhancements to the Trase supply chain transparency platform
SEI News 2016 Trase COP 140In March the Trase team went to Brasilia to kick off a five-year programme in Latin America, meet key stakeholders, and unveil a major round of improvements to the Trase platform. These include new countries and commodities, an enhanced user interface, data download options, and improved accuracy.

Read more

Visit Trase

Download the P2CS brochure

P2CS is moving beyond the limited and fragmented picture that current tools and methods give, and thus to reveal new opportunities for governments, businesses and other stakeholders to promote PCS sustainability.

P2CS's approach links two key strands of work: innovative modeling to improve the transparency of supply chains, including how producers and consumers are linked and the participation of different actors in determining supply chain dynamics; and multidisciplinary analysis of the governance of production, trade and consumption processes, and potential opportunities to improve them, that places the roles and perspectives of different stakeholders at the centre.

This work represents a step-change in the analysis of trade, consumption and production sustainability, taking a whole-system approach that builds on tools and expertise developed by SEI and an array of partner organizations, and working closely with policy-makers, businesses and civil society to benefit from their unique insights and respond to their needs.

Furthermore, P2CS is becoming a knowledge broker in the area of supply chain transparency, actively gathering stakeholders to share their approaches and insights – from major international companies to civil society initiatives to government to producer and consumer groups. Read more about our first multistakeholder dialogue meeting in May 2015. Similar opportunities were provided at Global Soil Week 2015in Berlin and in a workshop at the FLARE conference in Paris on 30 November 2015. A meeting entitled Navigating the World of Supply Chain Transparency, on 4 December 2015 in Paris, brought together 11 different supply chain transparency initiatives.   


P2CS will draw on a broad spectrum of SEI competencies as well as working collaboratively with partners in research, civil society, the private sector, and government to:

  1. identify the diverse actors who benefit, to varying degrees, from their participation in a given PCS, along with their responsibilities, liabilities, and exposure to risk, and their capabilities to act to minimize negative social and environmental impacts and secure sustainability gains;
  2. develop a new generation of footprint accounting tools that can trace commodities from specific locations of production to specific groups of consumers, and shed light on the interdependencies, impacts, and benefits associated with different groups of actors within a given PCS;
  3. analyse the sustainability challenges and opportunities associated with a given PCS, taking into account the geopolitical dynamics and political economy of the global trade system, including interacting agendas of foreign investment, development cooperation, and climate change adaptation and mitigation; and
  4. identify new opportunities to leverage improvements in sustainability in a given PCS.

Read more about our innovative PCS modelling work.

Read more about seeking new opportunities to improve supply chain governance.

Firm foundations

The SEI team implementing P2CS includes researchers and communicators from the SEI centres in Stockholm, York, Bangkok, Nairobi, Oxford and Tallinn. The initiative will also benefit from a range of SEI assets, including, but not limited to:

  • cutting-edge global trade analysis tools developed within SEI: SEI-PCS (for Spatially Explicit Information on Production to Consumption Systems), the IOTA (Input-Output Trade Analysis) model, and REAP (Resources and Energy Analysis Programme);
  • expertise in the use and development of supply chain analysis and business-support tools such as NETPositive and corporate environmental management systems more generally;
  • expertise, field experience, and established networks associated with major commodity supply chains and the impacts of agricultural expansion on patterns of land and resource use, including by local communities, in the developing world;
  • established engagement with public-sector authorities and leading private-sector and civil society stakeholders involved in international trade and sustainability, both in Sweden and internationally.


P2CS aspires to be much more than just another research programme. It seeks to provide a broad platform for knowledge exchange, as well as an intellectual and applied research framework to catalyse and stimulate ideas for new work with a wide variety of potential partners.

P2CS aims to open and maintain a dialogue with key actors who can make a positive difference in producer-to-consumer sustainability. Active engagement with partners and stakeholders involved in every stage of complex global PCSs will include a series of workshops and ongoing dialogue through the establishment of a broad community of practice.


The first two years of the P2CS Initiative, during which the work outlined above will be carried out, has core funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). SEI and its partners are actively seeking external funding for activities during and beyond this period.


If you want to know more about the work of the P2CS Initiative at SEI, or want to explore possible partnerships, please write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We would like to hear from other applied research efforts in this area, and from stakeholders working in any stage of a commodity supply chain who are interested in sharing experiences and working together to identify problems and co-design possible solutions for more sustainable trade.