Sustainable Sourcing Platform Tools

The Sustainable Sourcing Platform will eventually existing as a freestanding interactive web platform.  Currently, individual pieces are under development, some of which are available for users to explore.   The following tools are all prototypes and feedback on them is welcome.  Please e-mail any comments to us. 

Sustainable Sourcing Platform tools include:

Linkage Visualization Tool 

visualization 3

A prototype that allows for exploration of links between indicators and issues. Users can determine which issues are of interest, visualize linkages to other issues, and identify relevant indicators.

Minimum Indicator Set

A prototype minimum indicator set tool has been developed but is not yet web accessible. Through this tool, users will be able to systematically select a small, manageable set of indicators to measure a suite of issues. The tool will interactively isolate issues and indicators of particular importance based on data availability, coverage, relevant scales, and underlying framework of relevance.

Sustainable Sourcing GIS Tool

The Sustainable Sourcing GIS tool links indicators with useful spatial data to help users explore sustainable sourcing questions.

The tool will make it easier to identify the current state of indicators for regions and crops of interest, to measure past changes in these indicators, and set future goals.

The tool will:

  • Include global datasets identified by the Sustainable Sourcing team, semantically linked to indicators;
  • Have global scope but the option to zoom into specific regions, depending on scope and resolution of the data;
  • Not require expertise in map-making software if using spatial data provided publicly;
  • Allow advanced GIS users to add proprietary datasets on top of online public datasets shared through the SSGIS portal.

Currently, the prototype of the GIS tool includes a use-case covering the issues of poverty and land use for peanut production in Nigeria, China, and the U.S.  The indicators covering each issue are:

Land and soil
Area under peanut production
Productivity Yields
Poverty % of population below $2/day
Malnutrition % underweight
Infant mortality
No. per 1000 live births


Corporate Communications of Sustainable Sourcing Database

The Sustainable Sourcing Platform includes a database of food manufacturing corporation communications on sustainable sourcing – a tool to quickly and easily find categorized information about how corporations are publicly communicating their values, goals, progress, and partnerships related to sustainability issues.

The database features:

  • Sustainability Issues: The sustainability efforts of individual corporations are categorized according to the 44 sustainability issues identified in the Sustainable Sourcing Project for future integration into the platform.
  • Communication Types:  The database tracks the level of commitment these corporations have made to various sustainability issues. The database tracks whether they have acknowledged an issue in their communication materials, have made a commitment to addressing the issue in sourcing practices, or have shown how their efforts have directly impacted a sustainability issue.  
  • Alliance Organizations: Many corporations partner with other organizations and institutions to help drive their efforts.  The database highlights these alliances according to different sustainability issue.
  • Example Quotations: The database is organized according to the public communications efforts from corporations and provides example quotations from these documents for a snapshot of what these influential companies are doing and saying about agricultural sustainability.

Search the Database

 Data Modeling Tool

We intend to expand the Sustainable Sourcing Platform to incorporate modeling tools that allow users to test decisions and strategies using biophysical or economic models. Such models would use indicators to assess tradeoffs between sourcing and other sustainability strategies.


  • Use a model to understand how improving productivity through fertilizer application may impact water quality.
  • Test whether switching the geographic source of a raw material may make their supply chains more vulnerable to price shock.