Commodity Chain Project and Presentation:

Commodity Chain Project and Presentation:

•    commodity chains – networks of labor and production processes that originate in the extraction or production of raw materials. The end result is the delivery and consumption of a finished commodity.

Following the global flow of commodities reveals how connections across and between regions cause environmental and social changes, but also forges new regional relationships. Linkages can leave behind massive transformations to the environment and social processes, but these linkages also encourage increasingly tight global connections that may open the door to more sustainable ways of managing the environment.

Individually or in groups of two or three you will choose a commodity, investigate the process of production and consumption, and trace these networks through various places and as it moves across space. The chain can be understood as made up of multiple nodes where specific activities happen, linked through various types of transactions.

•    identify various activities (at least six) that happen in the production and consumption of your commodity
•    locate and map places where each of these activities typically happen (this can be displayed in one map or many maps)
•    critically investigate* at least 1 social or environmental impacts of each of these activities (e.g. companies involved, typical wages paid, working conditions, pollution, transportation, consumer price, profits, etc.)

*: By critical investigation, you have to clearly explain and analyze why and how of your subject of focus, rather than just describe who, when, where, and what.

Your commodity can be anything from bananas, to gasoline, to iPhones, to human trafficking, or any other commodity of your choosing. You might choose to explore different types of production processes (e.g. conventional production, fair trade, organic). It may be helpful to think of how your commodity might pass through different sectors of the economy (e.g. primary – farmers, quaternary – design). Use the Internet, your textbook, class resources, print sources, etc. to research your commodity. Be sure to include at least one academic resource (such as an academic journal article). Only use Wikipedia or other sources as a source to identify other, more reputable sources—that is, Wikipedia should not be used as a reference/citation. Use professional language. Cite all of your sources (including the textbook if you use it). Provide in-text citations or citations in the ‘notes’ section of each powerpoint slide Be sure to provide a Bibliography list at the end of your presentation. Use a proper citation style** (e.g., APA, MLA).

**: For citation help, visit

You will present your findings to the class in a virtual poster session at the end of the quarter—do not present it in essay format (e.g., Microsoft Word). Use whatever presentation style you see fit: PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Presentations, videos, etc. (if you create a video, upload it on YouTube; For Prezi or Google presentations, post a link). Do not include more than 40 slides and, if you complete a video, it should be no more than 15 minutes in length. Include at least one map (use Google Maps) showing the spatial extent of your commodity chain, describing the activities that are happening, and explaining the impacts. Provide a link to the Google Map(s) that you create and copy and paste a screenshot of the map(s) into your presentation.

Group work: Include a list of work breakdown. Describe in detail which member worked on which part of the project. Each group member must provide a list of work breakdown.

Grade breakdown and important deadlines:
•    Topic Choice: Due Oct. 21, 2% of project grade
o    Include names of group members (if applicable)
o    Submit topic choice to Carmen Wiki (‘edit’ the page to add your topic)

•    Outline: Due Nov. 4, 5% of project grade
o    One-page, approximately 400 words
o    Dropbox submission—each group member should submit the same outline. Provide all group members’ names, if appiclable.

•    Academic misconduct quiz: Nov. 11, 3% of project grade
o    Quiz will be posted by Nov. 5

•    Draft of project: Due Nov. 18, 10% of project grade
o    Final presentation format (if prezi or video, post a link along with a short description)
o    Project must be at least 80% completed
o    Include names of group members (if applicable)
o    Post to Discussion page on Carmen course page

•    Peer review of classmate’s commodity chain project due Dec. 9, ~1.4% of final grade (counts as M14 Discussion grade)
o    100-250 word review that is constructive
o    Post to Discussion page on Carmen course page

•    Final project: Due Tuesday, Dec. 16, 20% of final grade (80% of project grade)
o    Dropbox submission

See the grading rubric to better understand what we expect from the project. If you have any questions or concerns about the project please contact Chris or Rae.

Here is an example that lays out the nodes in the coffee commodity chain, however for this project, it would need to be elaborated with specific places, a map, and impacts:


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