Sara Elder

Sara Elder is a PhD Student and SSHRC Fellow at the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability. She is interested in issues at the intersection of global economics, community development and the environment. Her current research examines the rise in private governance of agrifood supply chains in developing countries and the consequences for smallholder farmer food and nutrition security and environmental sustainability. This work is supported by a UBC Four-Year Fellowship, a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, an IDRC Doctoral Award, a UBC Mobility Award, and a Liu Bottom Billion Fieldwork Award.

Sara holds an MA in Resource Management & Environmental Studies (2010), where she studied the effects of Fair Trade certification on the livelihoods of Rwandan coffee producers, and a BA in International Relations (2004) from the University of British Columbia. Her professional experience includes international development work with communities in Canada, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Bolivia.

Supervision: Peter Dauvergne, Liu Institute for Global Issues (Supervisor); Natasha Affolder, Faculty of Law; Jane Lister, Liu Institute for Global Issues; Sean Smukler, Land and Food Systems; Judy Mclean, Land and Food Systems


Elder, S.D., Lister, J., and Dauvergne, P. (2014). Big retail and sustainable coffee: A new development studies research agenda. Progress in Development Studies 14 (1), 77-90.

Elder, S.D., Zerriffi, H., and Le Billon, P. (2013). Is Fairtrade certification greening agricultural practices? An analysis of Fairtrade environmental standards in Rwanda. Journal of Rural Studies 32, 264-274.

Elder, S.D., Zerriffi, H., and Le Billon, P. (2012). Effects of Fair Trade certification on social capital: The case of Rwandan coffee producers. World Development, 40 (11), 2355-2367.