PublicationsThe U4 Blog

U4 Issue

Natural resource commodity supply chains

Lessons from existing anti-corruption initiatives

The extraction of and trading in natural resources relies on supply chains with significant corruption risks. Analysing and understanding the risks, and at what stage in the chain they occur, can help practitioners develop more effective tools and strategies to mitigate corruption. Lessons can be learned from existing anti-corruption initiatives when striving to improve transparency and accountability in natural resource supply chains.

21 June 2023
Download PDF
Natural resource commodity supply chains

Main points

  • While there are several existing initiatives promoting the transparency and accountability of governments in the extraction and allocation of natural resources, as well as their use of revenues, there is interest from investors, civil society, and some governments in improving the current – and narrow – legal requirements.
  • Although global commitments to reduce corruption in natural resource supply chains have increased, there is often a lack of understanding as to how corruption manifests itself. There needs to be recognition of the complex country challenges, the regulatory and institutional ecosystems in which supply chain initiatives are implemented, and how national and subnational initiatives tackle the different dimensions of corruption in supply chains.
  • Consistent corruption risk analysis and better understanding of supply chains are essential in setting priorities, developing strategies, and identifying what is needed to effect change. Sufficient attention must be paid to analysing corruption risks at different stages in natural resource supply chains, the political economy of the target area, and the capacities and weaknesses (including power relations) of anti-corruption actors.
  • Anti-corruption initiatives in natural resource supply chains seem most effective when integrated into a broader package of institutional reforms. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, but a combination of initiatives with effective on-the-ground action, and source country commitment, has the potential to contribute to natural resource supply chain transparency.
  • Incentivising producers in source countries to participate in supply chain initiatives and broadening the scope of interventions to cover several sectors and agencies could reduce corruption, increase accountability, and support the transition to more sustainable natural resource governance.

Cite this publication

Gargule, A.; (2023) Natural resource commodity supply chains. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2023:5)

Download PDF

About the author

Achiba A. Gargule

Achiba A. Gargule is a human geographer focusing on natural resources governance, specialising in development policy, land-rights inequities, and frontier transformations.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Adam Cohn