Commodity Chain Assignment Life Sciences Essay Paper (Essay Sample)
Click here for the PDF version of the assignment instructions: GGR209_2020_Assignment_Life of a Commodity.pdfPreview the document
Click here for a list of assignment commodities (students choose 1): GGR209_2020_Assignment_Commodities.pdfPreview the document
Governments, firms, and consumers are increasingly interested in knowing where products come from, who made them and under what conditions they were made. It can be a challenge, however, to track all of the transformations that a product goes through, what materials go into it, who is involved in the process, under what conditions the commodity was made, and to evaluate the positive and negative impacts along the way.
In this assignment you will visually represent and analyze a commodity value chain. Using information, we cover in lectures and cover in the textbook, as well as your own research, you will trace the life of a commodity. This ‘life’, or the steps and the processes by which raw materials are turned into consumable products, is referred to as a commodity value chain.
Students will select a commodity from a pre-approved list of options provided by the instructor. They will then research the production, consumption and disposal processes of the selected commodity.
Some information may be easy to find, but in other cases, you will have to make decisions about what to include and make connections and assumptions on your own (in other words, you can speculate). This is okay – what is important is that you assess the information you are gathering and reference it appropriately in the final product!
In doing this assignment students will learn:
the component parts of a value commodity chain;
to analyse information about commodity chains by applying course concepts;
how a commodity value chain can be used to understand and explain the global economy from a geographical perspective and bring together various components of the course.
to be critical of the “hidden” processes of production that are not necessarily evident in the final commodity itself.
Assignment Components (see ‘Assignment Instructions’ below for extended details on each component):
Collect information (i.e. research) the value chain of your chosen commodity.
Visually represent the commodity value chain (i.e. its spatial interconnections, governance structures and institutional actors)
Provide an analysis of the commodity value chain based on the potential broader political controversies, social issues and environmental concerns that surround it.
* Select a Commodity*
You must choose ONE of the commodities listed in the following document on Quercus in the Assignments tab: GGR209_2020_Assignment Commodities.pdf.Preview the document
1. Collect Information About the Commodity Chain
First, you will need to research the value commodity chain for the chosen commodity.
For this assignment, you can use both academic and non-academic sources. Articles in academic journals, scholarly books and anthologies (collections of essays on a specific topic that are peer reviewed) are all examples of academic sources. Non-academic sources are publicly available and include most information from websites, magazines, newspaper and blogs.
Please click: Academic vs. Non-Academic Sources for for more details.
Research the commodity and commodity chain you have chosen. The following questions might help guide you:
What is/are the raw materials input(s) of this commodity (e.g. if the commodity is a cup of coffee then coffee beans, water and the cup are the material inputs). For each commodity, the material input (or “ingredient”) to focus on for the assignment is indicated.
Where does the main raw material input come from? What is its original form? (e.g. coffee starts off as beans grown on plants).
What processes does the raw material input go through in order to become the final commodity that is consumed? (e.g. the coffee bean is picked, dried, shipped, roasted, ground, combined with water).
Can you identify how value is added to your commodity as it travels through the value chain? (e.g. why is a cup of coffee worth so much more than a coffee bean?)
Where (geographically) do these steps take place? What flows/movements (of money, products, disposal, labour) can you identify?
What actors and/or institutions (e.g. people, businesses and/or organizations) are involved in these steps?
How is the commodity chain governed? Can you identify whether the chain is buyer-driven, producer- driven or a combination? What does this mean for who has the most power within the chain?
Are there any regulations or certification processes that happen along the way? How might they affect the commodity chain as a whole? (e.g. some coffee is certified as fair trade)?
How is the product advertised to consumers? How do consumers use the product?
What happens to your commodity after it is consumed? Where is it disposed of and how? Is any recycling involved?
While researching these questions keep track of the sources from which you find the information so that you can cite them in the assignment.
2. Visually Represent the Commodity Value Chain
Second, you will visually represent the commodity chain you researched. Your visual representation can take the form of a PowerPoint slide show or a poster. If you choose to do a poster, you can use a graphic software program or design a poster the "old-fashioned" way and take photos for submission. If students have other ideas for how to visually represent their selected commodity chain, they are encouraged to reach out and discuss with the instructor.
This representation needs to include information about the important places, flows, spatial connections, actors, and governance structures involved in the commodity chain.
Pretend you will share your representation with a group of economic geographers who are familiar with the concept of commodity value chains but not with the details of your specific commodity What should they know about your commodity? How will you communicate the details about the commodity chain to them in a concise, clear and creative manner?
Make sure you connect all information on the visual representation to the reference page. In other words, you must cite the sources you use in the visual representation. It is up to you how and where to list the sources (e.g. referencing style), but your audience must be able to clearly understand from where you are getting your information.
3. Analyze the Commodity Value Chain
Based on the information about the commodity value chain you have collected from your research and pieced together from your visual representation write a 3-page paper (approx. 750-800 words) that answers the following question:
What are the potential political controversies (e.g. corruption, conflict, certification challenges), social issues (e.g. ethics) and/or environmental concerns (e.g. pollution) associated with your selected commodity value chain? In your answer, make sure to reference terms and concepts from lectures and the textbook to help you interpret what you’ve learned about your selected commodity value chain and make it more meaningful in the context of the course.
It is up to you how you would like to organize the written assignment; however, students could choose to use sub-headings to organize information around environmental, social and political issues. Make sure to address all three.
Students need to provide a brief introduction that identifies the selected commodity and outlines the paper. Students need to provide a conclusion that briefly summarizes the paper and provides insight gained while analyzing the commodity chain.
Formatting for Written Analysis:
sub-headings may be used to organize the assignment
type on white 8 ½ x 11 paper
use no less than 1-inch margins
use font no less than 12pt.
use Times New Roman, Ariel, Calibri or comparable font
include all references cited in the visual representation and written analysis in one bibliography
use APA formatting (see the APA References module on Quercus. In this module, you will find examples of APA formatting as well as website links to helpful resources)
put sources in alphabetical order by author’s last name
do not number sources
‘hanging indentation’ is recommended = every line after the first is indented
not included in the word count
students can reference lectures and the textbook
Commodity Value Chain Analysis on Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar
Subject and section
Date of Submission
Commodity chain refers to the process utilized by companies to collect supplies and transform these into goods to be distributed to the customers. It links various processes that allow an additive value to the raw material until it becomes the final product (McCollum, 2018). In this paper, we will study the commodity chain value of the cacao or cocoa beans of the Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.
Analysis of the Commodity Chain Value
The Hershey Company has constructed a Government Affairs Team to deal with the federal legislators, as well as the executive branch of the U.S. Government. The main task of the team is to keep them informed of the business’ actions and policy issues. This is done through the Hershey Company Political Action Committee (PAC) CITATION The18 \l 13321 (The Hershey Company, 2018).
Financial contributions given via PAC consist of contributions from the employees and the administration. This is intended to raise support to the elected officials irrespective of political standing. The sole requirement of the company is the official’s willingness to deliberate the perspectives of the Hershey Company CITATION The18 \l 13321 (The Hershey Company, 2018).
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