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Institute of

MA Market Analysis


Accompanying research on the organization of deforestation-free supply chains

Lead Institute MA Institute of Market Analysis

© James Thew - Fotolia

Accompanying research on the organization of deforestation-free supply chains

How can be ensured that the production of agricultural commodities is not linked to further deforestation? We analyze how deforestation-free supply chains are perceived by different market participants and how they can be actively shaped by policy.

Background and Objective

Globally, more than 7 million hectares of forest are cleared every year. Deforestation affects mainly tropical rainforests, with more than half of the cleared land being converted for agricultural use in the form of crop farming or animal husbandry. With the Amsterdam Declaration, Germany and other European countries as the so-called “Amsterdam Group” have in 2015 declared their commitment to implement measures to reduce deforestation of rainforests, which shall be supported by the setup of deforestation-free supply chains in particular. According to these commitments, agricultural products that are linked to deforestation of rainforests shall not be imported anymore. Of particular relevance from the point of view of the Amsterdam Group are the commodities soy, palm oil and cocoa, while also other products, such as beef, maize, coffee, rice, sugarcane and rubber play a role.

The main focus of the project is to accompany the development of deforestation-free value chains in a critical and supportive manner and to conduct exemplary analyses on certain supply chains with the involvement of relevant actors. In this regard, relevant aspects of analysis are for instance the traceability of products along supply chains, the expected impacts of new EU level regulations, or consumer attitudes and preferences towards certain products. These aspects shall be part of the analysis in order to identify and remove potential obstacles to the organization of deforestation-free supply chains as early as possible.


In joint collaboration with the Thünen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, we analyzed and evaluated different certification systems for soy with respect to social and environmental standards and other relevant requirements, focusing on criteria related to the conservation of forests and other ecosystems.
Going forward, a discourse analysis on palm oil sustainability shall be conducted, with a focus on commitments to achieve deforestation-free supply chains and relevant policy measures on EU level.  Using focus groups, we will analyze consumer attitudes towards palm oil in food products, and try to find out whether the aspect of deforestation is a relevant factor for consumers making consumption decisions. Additional research shall be conducted with respect to analyzing relevant value chains and the involved actors.  Thereby, we would also like to contribute to assessing and improving the effectiveness of private certification initiatives.

Links and Downloads

Related project of the Thuenen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics


10.2017 - 3.2021


  1. 0

    Hinkes C, Christoph-Schulz IB (2021) Consumer preferences for sustainable, deforestation-free palm oil. Braunschweig: Thünen Institute of Market Analysis, 2 p, Project Brief Thünen Inst 2021/12a, DOI:10.3220/PB1617177891000

  2. 1

    Hinkes C, Christoph-Schulz IB (2021) Verbraucherpräferenzen für nachhaltiges, entwaldungsfreies Palmöl. Braunschweig: Thünen-Institut für Marktanalyse, 2 p, Project Brief Thünen Inst 2021/12, DOI:10.3220/PB1617177676000

  3. 2

    Hinkes C (2020) Adding (bio)fuel to the fire: discourses on palm oil sustainability in the context of European policy development. Environ Dev Sustain 22(8):7661-7682, DOI:10.1007/s10668-019-00541-y

  4. 3

    Hinkes C (2020) Key aspects to consider when conducting synchronous text-based online focus groups - a research note. Int J Soc Res Methodol:in Press, DOI:10.1080/13645579.2020.1801277

  5. 4

    Hinkes C, Christoph-Schulz IB (2020) No palm oil or certified sustainable palm oil? Heterogeneous consumer preferences and the role of information. Sustainability 12(18):7257, DOI:10.3390/su12187257

  6. 5

    Hinkes C, Peter G (2020) Traceability matters: A conceptual framework for deforestation-free supply chains applied to soy certification. Sustain Account Manag Policy J 11(7):1159-1187, DOI:10.1108/SAMPJ-04-2019-0145

  7. 6

    Hinkes C, Peter G (2019) Chain-of-custody certification for sustainable soy - Ensuring traceability along deforestation-free supply chains? Schr Gesellsch Wirtsch Sozialwiss Landbaues 54:351-353

  8. 7

    Hinkes C, Christoph-Schulz IB (2019) Consumer attitudes toward palm oil: Insights from focus group discussions. J Food Prod Marketing 25(9):875-895, DOI:10.1080/10454446.2019.1693468

  9. 8

    Hargita Y, Hinkes C, Bick U, Peter G (2019) Entwaldungsfreie Agrarrohstoffe - Analyse relevanter Soja-Zertifizierungssysteme für Futtermittel. Korrigierte Auflage. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 86 p, Thünen Working Paper 98, DOI:10.3220/WP1575275224000

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