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In recent years, we've seen the explosion of supply chain management programs and eco-labels assuring buyers that products are sustainably produced. The Ecolabel Index currently tracks 424 different types of ecolabels in 246 countries and 25 industry sectors -- 145 related to food alone.

While many companies have also started developing their own supplier certification programs tailored to their specific needs and operating environment, few programs (even ecolabels) have devoted resources to ongoing monitoring of the programs.

With so much financial investment in these programs, many have begun to ask: Have the programs been effective? Are they driving sustainable production in the sector and providing some of the social benefits they promised? Recently, Conservation International (CI) collaborated with our longtime partner, Starbucks Coffee Company, to begin answering these questions for its home-grown supply chain program, Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, and we have a few takeaways to share on the value of these assessments as well as how to build ongoing results assessment into your own program.

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