The project’s research design reflects the basic structure of the challenge faced by users of global sustainability governance schemes, who need both an overarching understanding of changing models of market-led sustainability governance and their effects, and an understanding of how different governance models can be adapted to varied local contexts. 

The project therefore seeks to generate new theoretical and empirical insights at both global and local levels, which we aim to achieve through cross-case comparative analysis across different countries and sectors, along with deeper dives into the context-specific operation of market-led environmental governance processes through in-depth case studies of specific governance interventions seeking to promote sustainable commodity production at sectoral, landscape or jurisdictional scale. 

In total, 13 detailed case studies of transnational market-based sustainability governance initiatives are being conducted: four in Peru, four in Ecuador and around five in Indonesia—all countries in which sustainability governance initiatives have proliferated in recent years in response to the critical role of these countries and sectors in global efforts to counter commodity-linked deforestation. In each country, we examine cases in a mix of commodity sectors, encompassing coffee, cocoa, palm oil and small-scale/ artisanal gold mining.