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Resources, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Technology and Work in Production and Distribution Systems: Rice in India

  • Start date: 01 October 2011
  • End date: 30 June 2014

Informal economies are neglected in debates about climate change and the long-awaited materials revolution. This trans-disciplinary pilot project will develop methods to study the informal economy’s materiality.

Methods: Uniting life-cycle analysis (from environmental science) with value chain/production system analysis (from management science and economics) and decent work criteria (from labour studies), it explores how capital, technology and labour are combined to produce commodities and GHGs. Multi-criteria analysis will then explore the costs and incommensurable trade-offs of technology  lowering GHGs and improving livelihoods. 

Substance: CO2 (and possibly water) are chosen as indicators of materiality. The system of rice production and distribution is selected since the research team is familiar with its complexity.

Evidence: Data will be collected from semi-arid tropical regions. Four production technologies will be stylised, for large and small units (high yield varieties, systems of rice intensification, ‘labelled’ organic rice and rainfed rice); and four distribution channels (informal distribution, partially regulated markets, supermarket supply chains and the state’s public distribution systems).

Outreach: The project engages with stakeholders and communicates its results globally. Its intended impact is on uptake and on further applications.

  • Outputs (3)