FAQ SourceUp


What is SourceUp?
SourceUp is a platform for collaboration in supply chain sustainability, at the landscape level. It connects buyers of commodities with coalitions of stakeholders in regions producing these commodities, to jointly improve sustainability along the supply chain.

For what products and commodities can I use SourceUp?
SourceUp can be used for sourcing any kind of product or commodity that is produced by a Compact. For now, these include major agricultural and forestry products such as palm oil, soy, tropical timber, beef and coffee. You can search for your product of interest through the search function. New products will be added in the future. If you are looking to source any commodity not yet on SourceUp, please let us know.

Who is behind SourceUp?
SourceUp is a collaboration of various partners involved in supply chain sustainability and landscape initiatives, and it is powered by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative. See SourceUp Partners for more information.

Can I get access to the Beta release of SourceUp?
We are currently testing the SourceUp platform with stakeholders who are already involved in a Compact, or who are helping to build the SourceUp platform globally. If you are interested in gaining early access and becoming a partner, please contact us at info@sourceup.org. We will let you know when you can access.

How does SourceUp relate to certification?
SourceUp is a platform for credible local action on sustainability, at the landscape level. It helps to address issues that cannot be addressed at the individual farm or producer level only, and is therefore complementary to certification. At SourceUp, we believe that the platform will also help to make certification and other forms of supplier assurance and engagement more focused, localized and efficient.

Can I actually buy a product or commodity on SourceUp?
SourceUp helps Buyers to find regions where products and commodities originate. The SourceUp platform does at the moment not facilitate the actual buying-selling transactions and logistics. But by connecting to a Compact, you will be able to access information about key producers within that area. 

Compacts and Verified Sourcing Areas

What is a Compact?
A Compact is a local multi-stakeholder coalition in a sourcing region with an agreement to address sustainability challenges in a coordinated, timebound, and resource-committed manner within a jurisdiction. The main stakeholders are the local government, local civil society organisations, producer groups/cooperatives, and traders.

Who can develop a Compact?
Anyone who has a presence in the region can initiate a Compact. The first step is to convene stakeholders to jointly develop and govern the implementation of a Compact. You can find detailed guidance and requirements to develop a Compact in the SourceUp Compact Manual. Once the Compact has been approved by SourceUp, the Compact is listed as “under implementation” on the platform. 

What is a Verified Sourcing Area, and what is the difference with a Compact?
A Verified Sourcing Area is a Compact that has started reporting on all required indicators, and that has received a positive review from the Panel that the information that is being reported, is credible. The SourceUp partners are currently testing and defining a few further criteria that need to be met, to be able to achieve the status of Verified Sourcing Area. These are expected to be published in the first half of 2021.

Are all the products coming from a Verified Sourcing Area, sustainable for sure?
No, the Verified Sourcing Area status of a Compact does not mean that all products coming from that area are sustainable for sure. But it does mean that there is a high degree of certainty that conditions are or will be improving. This may take some time, especially in areas where the challenges are greater. SourceUp wants to help companies to source from those areas too, while making sure that sustainability is improving. 

Committed Buyers

How can I become a Committed Buyer?
You can become a Committed Buyer if your company is buying products from an area where there is a Compact, or you know that one of your suppliers is buying from that area. The current SourceUp beta is limited to companies who are already supporting a Compact. You can sign up to register your interest to support a Compact through this link.

What are the advantages of becoming a Committed Buyer?
SourceUp offers many benefits to Committed Buyers. As a Committed Buyer, you will get a dashboard where you can monitor sustainability progress and action in your supply chain. You will receive updates from the Compacts and Verified Sourcing Areas that you are supporting. You are also able to showcase to your stakeholders, where you are sourcing from and what support you are putting in.

What are the engagement modes Anchor Partner, Sourcing Partner and Supporter?
Engagement Modes are a way to show how a Committed Buyer is supporting a Compact. A Buyer makes commitments of funding, in-kind resources, and sourcing to a specific Compact depending on the role it wants to play, the scale of impact it wants to achieve, and the availability of resources. The nature of commitment to a specific Compact may depend on whether the Buyer knows the exact sourcing area, have a local presence in the sourcing area, and the area’s strategic importance to their business. 

What does it cost to become a Committed Buyer?
The SourceUp Beta is reserved for companies who are already engaged supporting Compacts with preferential sourcing, financing of projects and technical assistance. The costs of becoming a Committed Buyer therefore depend on the support that is being provided to a Compact. 

SourceUp organization

How is SourceUp organized?
SourceUp is not a separate organization, but a collaboration of various partners involved in supply chain sustainability. It is powered by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative. See SourceUp Partners for more information.

How is SourceUp funded?
The development of SourceUp is currently being funded through IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, by various public donors - see SourceUp Partners. The development of Compacts and Projects is funded by various public donors and Committed Buyers, as listed on the pages of each Compact and Project. 

Bec Ritchie Nwrp3fk68ye Unsplash

Expert FAQ


What is the relationship between SourceUp and Verified Sourcing Areas?
SourceUp is the name of the initiative. Verified Sourcing Areas is a term given to those Compacts that meet a set of requirements. The name Verified Sourcing Areas was previously also used to describe the entire initiative.

Is SourceUp or Verified Sourcing Areas a standard?
No. SourceUp is a platform bringing together existing and new landscape and jurisdictional initiatives. SourceUp does set a number of requirements to be able to use and report on the platform, to ensure consistency. These include requirements to achieve the status of Verified Sourcing Area.

Landscape and jurisdictional approaches

How does SourceUp relate to landscape and jurisdictional approaches?

Compacts are in fact jurisdictional or landscape initiatives. SourceUp uses Compacts to ensure that these initiatives have a common core. SourceUp enables any Compact initiator who may have their own jurisdictional or landscape program to display their jurisdictional initiative with their own identity, as long as they fulfill certain requirements for Compacts.

Monitoring and Verification 

What is the SourceUp monitoring and verification approach?
The SourceUp monitoring and verification approach is based on three key principles: (i) local stakeholders in a Compact collect their own data, allowing them to drive their own sustainability agenda; (ii) Compact stakeholders jointly review progress on key indicators and annotate to give context, to ensure there is broad support for what is being reported; and (iii) a Panel comprising external experts reviews the progress data and underlying evidence, provides an opinion on whether the reported progress is substantiated, and provides recommendations to improve monitoring in the future. 

Does SourceUp use third party verification?
SourceUp uses a Panel of independent, external experts to both provide a critical review of evidence, as well as constructive feedback to improve data collection and reporting. This is not identical to third party verification as is used in commodity certification schemes, but ensures an appropriate arms-length distance review tailored to the context.

Supply chain traceability and transparency

Does SourceUp offer traceability, and does it require a chain of custody?

SourceUp brings together different tactics that jointly improve transparency. First and foremost, this is done by connecting Buyers directly with local sustainability coalitions or Compacts, and making this visible on the SourceUp platform. A Committed Buyer who wants to demonstrate that commodities are indeed sourced from that area or from a particular producer within that area, will be able to do so by connecting the (chain of custody) evidence gained from their traceability service provider, to the SourceUp platform. In return, that Committed Buyer will be able to make stronger claims. Committed Buyers who do not currently have traceability services yet, will be able to use SourceUp to find a traceability service provider.

If SourceUp doesn’t require end-to-end traceability, how do you know if a Committed Buyer is really sourcing from a Compact?
Committed Buyers have an intrinsic interest to ensure that they in fact have a supply chain connection to those Compacts they support. Depending on the commodity and geography, the nature of that connection may vary and may include an element of probability - just like mass balance systems do. SourceUp will also bring together different data sources, triangulating evidence from Committed Buyers’ traceability systems (if they have them) and other data sources such as Trase

Cannot find your answer? Contact us at info@sourceup.org