Effective stakeholder engagement: Why we believe in the power of mapping value chain actors and co-design

Understanding who are involved in each stage of the global biomass value chain is not an easy task. For the success of stakeholder engagement, however, we believe that stakeholder mapping acts as the foundation to bring together a wide range of voices, both from exporting and importing countries.

This is why in February 2023, we kicked off the CLEVER stakeholder work with a vital step – a comprehensive mapping exercise. Our goal was to ensure diverse representation and engagement across the trade supply chains of timber and soy in Brazil, timber in Cameroon, and global fishmeal and fish oil flows heading to the EU. Our stakeholder maps (see the map for Brazil below) encompass various actors, from biomass producers and traders to policymakers and local communities. Now we are set to delve deeper into our value chain maps and engage with our extensive impact network, gathering vital insights for our empirical research.

The next step from mapping stakeholders is to get them involved in our project, to refine our research questions, facilitate knowledge sharing, and foster co-design that leads to innovative policy recommendations and governance instruments. This is where co-design comes into the picture. At the end of the first year of the project, in August 2023, we made significant strides in defining the essential role of stakeholder engagement and co-design for the project.

The CLEVER Stakeholder Reference Group takes center stage in this co-innovation landscape, steering us towards transformative change. Our researchers will also conduct content-related interviews with key stakeholders, contributing to our shared goals.

The project aims to provide a holistic view of the relationship between international trade and biodiversity. Our modelling simulations delve into the impact of trade-related interventions on biodiversity outcomes. This enables us to identify potential leverage points for positive change. We produced a user-friendly, transparent presentation of the Modeling Framework (see below) to invite stakeholders to join us in this essential research journey.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates as we continue to explore the complex web of global biomass trade and its impact on our environment!

Access all the resources here:

Written by Heli Sihvonen, UNEP-WCMC

Cover image by AdobeStock

Efforts to fight global deforestation need trust-building dialogue

CLEVER representatives met with policy makers, civil society and other academia stakeholders on 13th of June in Berlin to discuss the new rules on sustainability of international agricultural value chains. The focus was at the EU’s landmark decision on its deforestation regulation in December 2022, and the impacts in Brazil. This regulation intends to increase the consumption of ‘deforestation-free’ products, by prohibiting specified commodities and products from being imported into the EU. If in one hand, the regulation comes with a good intention and in a proper political momentum for Brazil, on the other hand, such a unilateral measure can promote a “diversion trade”, which means, Brazil can shift their exports to a less demanding trading partner with lower incurred costs. Other points raised at the meeting were the lack of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of this type of policy, and the challenge of tracing the product from the plot of land to the EU.

Among the solutions, one word was often repeated and took centre stage: “partnerships”. Partnerships to develop traceability tools, platforms, and to increase the interoperability between traders. Overall, partnerships to support exporter governments to improve their own efforts to conserve the forest. One thing is clear: without this joint effort, the final goal of decreasing deforestation cannot be achieved. That is why, while the new EU regulation is not into force, all relevant stakeholders are increasing the dialogue to prepare the ground to conduct strict due diligence. In this setting, CLEVER project results will be key to provide to those stakeholders evidence-based information on potential impacts of this new regulation in both sides of this trade coalition.

The event was hosted by SWP, organized by APD Brasil, and supported by the GFA Consulting Group, IAK Agrar Consulting, GIZ, and BMEL.

Photo by Fernanda Martinelli

Written by Fernanda Martinelli – University of Bonn

Featured image by Adobe Stock/FootageLab