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Where is the Beef? Tracking Costco’s supply of beef back to the farm and its implications for environmental justice

Authors: Sanaz Chamanara*, University of Michigan, Benjamin Goldstein , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor , Joshua P Newell , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Topics: Environmental Science, Urban Geography, Food Systems
Keywords: Corporations, Environmental Justice, Sustainable Supply Chain, Corporate Social Responsibility
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Nowadays, interactions between distant places across the globe are the norm, and the outcomes of these relationships on social and environmental sustainability are unpredictable. Achieving sustainability requires in depth understanding of those interactions. Impacts of consumption-production nexus on local to transnational rural locations require the delineation of the multiple connections involved across multiple spatial scales. The impacts of the production process are not directly experienced by communities where the final products are consumed. Assessment of supply chains at regional, national and international level can facilitate a deeper and detailed understanding of a product’s life cycle and its associated impacts. This study will explore TRACAST (TRAcking Corporations Across Space and Time) approach to delineate a specific beef supply chain in California and to highlight the uneven distribution of social concerns that stem from this supply chain. TRACAST is a hybrid and iterative methodology of in-situ and ex-situ approaches for revealing environmental and social hotspots in complex supply chains. In this paper, we show how through a hybrid and creative approach we can construct a detailed structure of supply chains and their hidden nodes and linkages for further analysis of environmental and social outcomes.

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