The influence of company sourcing patterns on the adoption and effectiveness of zero-deforestation commitments in Brazil’s soy supply chain

Related GLP Member: Floris Leijten, Tiago Reis, Peter Verburg, Patrick Meyfroidt


  • Persistence of supply chain configurations is an aspect of sourcing behaviour.
  • This ‘stickiness’ is a proxy of lock-ins and social relations among supply chain actors.
  • Stickier traders are more likely to adopt zero-deforestation commitments (ZDCs).
  • But ZDCs effectiveness is lower for stickier traders.


Many companies sourcing agricultural commodities with high deforestation risk have committed to zero deforestation, meaning they intend to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. While previous research has attempted to assess progress against such initiatives, little is known about how the characteristics of sourcing patterns may influence the adoption and potential effectiveness of zero-deforestation commitments. Supply chain stickiness – here defined as the geographic persistence in trade relationships between traders and sourcing regions over time – may reflect lock-in effects and the level of trust between the parties involved. Here, we use a metric of supply chain stickiness, calculated from temporal network analyses on the Brazilian soy export supply chain, as a proxy for these underlying dynamics to explore their effect on the adoption and effectiveness of zero deforestation commitments (ZDCs). Using data for 2004–2017, we find that although stickier traders are more likely to adopt ZDCs, they also appear to have less effective ZDCs than other traders (as indicated by the level of soy and territorial deforestation in their sourcing regions). This finding suggests that additional strategies are needed to increase the effectiveness of ZDCs.