Co-Creation of Sustainable Food Supply Chains through Cooperative Business Models and Governance (CO-SFSC)

Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in the Ukraine reveal unsustainable features of conventional, globalized food supply chains, including significant GHG emissions, food insecurity, high food prices, injustices against workers, and dependence on trade partners violating human rights. Various efforts have been undertaken to transform food supply chains (FSC) towards sustainability by reducing transport, paying fair prices, adding value in the region of origin, adopting worker safety standards, and increasing accountability along the supply chain from production to consumption. Cooperative business models, such as worker or consumer cooperatives, as well as cooperative governance such as food policy councils or community-supported agriculture adopt many of these sustainable practices. Yet, there is little empirical, comparative research on how to implement sustainable food supply chains through cooperative models.

The goal of CO-SFSC  is to assess current food supply structures (incl. their supporting ecosystems like policies, financing, training) and to develop sustainable ones through innovation and transfer of cooperative business and governance models. CO-SFSC will co-create knowledge, visions, plans and small-scale experimentations on how to innovate, convert, and strengthen FSC in different socio-cultural-political contexts


Research across five "hubs"

Co-SFSC coordinates transdisciplinary research, incl. experiments, across five research “hubs” and with six teams in Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan, Sweden, Germany and the U.S., building a Community of Practice for mutual learning (Lave & Wenger 1998).

Find more information on each Hub:


women smiling into the cameraSandra Schmidt
Sustainability Assessment for Practitioners
June 2024

Sandra Schmidt an agricultural biologist and sustainability manager explains how a sustainability assessment benefits practitioners and how this reveal itself.

CO-SFSC at the SRI-Congress in Helsinki
June 2024

In June 2024, nine members of the Co-SFSC research team convened at the SRI Congress in Helsinki to discuss the progress with the project thus far, and to share with other teams funded by the Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP) Belmont Forum grant.

Interview with a member of TOCACO-SFSC
Photo Essay Partnermeeting in Thailand
March 2024

In mid-February, members of the Co-SFSC team visited our Thailand hub to learn about sustainable food supply chains, important actors in the organic food system, and exchanged ideas across contexts to help inform the transformative work of the other hubs in Germany, Taiwan and Turkey.