Current research projects


​New and more complex partnerships are emerging to address the sustainability of natural resource use in developing countries. These partnerships link donors, governments, community-based organizations, NGOs, business, certification agencies and other intermediaries. Yet, we still do not know whether more complexity, including more sophisticated organizational structures and inclusive processes, has delivered better sustainability outcomes, and if so, in what sectors and under which circumstances. To fill this knowledge gap and build capacity in this area, NEPSUS assembles a multidisciplinary team to analyze partnerships with kinds and degrees of complexity through structured comparisons in three key natural resource sectors in Tanzania: wildlife, coastal resources and forestry. Tanzania provides an ideal case for researching the impact of new partnerships on sustainability outcomes because policy and program implementation in these three sectors are heavily dependent on their success.

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International Political Economy

Global Value Chains and Production Networks

Sustainability - standards, labels and certifications

Cause-related marketing, Brand Aid, role of celebrity mediation

Political economy of development and of Africa

Business and Politics in Africa

Partnerships for sustainability


​The project aims to go beyond the traditionally investigated economic benefits of global supply chains, and explore the rather less well understood - but growing - environmental and social costs. It is based on a global, collaborative partnership between journalists and governance scholars, and holds potential for unique knowledge translation and mobilization. Hidden Costs has signed partnership agreements with The New York Times, PBS FRONTLINE, Toronto Star, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC News, and Smithsonian Channel. These partners will provide additional funding and support for reporting projects, and will distribute the content, which will include documentaries, newspaper series and digital projects. The project will culminate in a traveling exhibit staged in two shipping containers – built in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada – which will travel around North America to key hubs of global commerce. (Global Reporting Centre)

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The UBC Centre for Transportation Studies together with 16 university partners and 16 non-academic industry and government partners lead an international maritime research network on governing environmental improvements in the maritime supply chain. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and includes economists, business management scholars and political scientists. While there is well-developed technical literature on ship design and the economics of efficient operation, sea transport is relatively under-­‐investigated in the business management, political economy and global governance literatures. There is consequently a major gap when it comes to understanding the implications of the accelerating "green shipping" trend, which calls for greater environmental accountability and reduction of the air, land and water impacts of the sector along the maritime supply chain. The Green Shipping research network aims to address this knowledge gap. The overall goal is to advance knowledge and understanding towards the progressive governance of sustainable maritime transport.

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This project explores change in a large number of Tanzanian villages using a longitudinal approach. We re-visit places that were surveyed in the 1990s (mostly) returning to the same families, generally with the original researchers. We focus particularly on change in assets, which matter a great deal to local definitions of wealth and poverty.

The project is lead by Dan Brockington and involves a large number of co-investigators. Altogether we have re-visited 37 villages from 12 villages. Progress on that work is reported in the blog. We will also be updating the published papers as these appear. This work has been funded by the ESRC/DfID growth research programme: ES/L012413/2


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