What is the Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM)?

Figure 1: An example score report of the SAM Matrix. Report applies a traffic color scheme for 18 indicators of agricultural sustainability (outer ring), the three dimensions of sustainability (middle ring) and the overall sustainability performance (center of report) for a given country.

The Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM; Figure 1) is a framework developed by a transdisciplinary & transnational team that provides an assessment of a country’s agricultural sustainability thereby informing policy & promoting accountability at the national & global scale. The first edition of SAM [1], released in 2021, provides the first-of-its-kind assessment for over 150 countries around the world with 18 related & measurable indicators, covering aspects across three dimensions: environmental (e.g., water availability, soil health), economic (e.g., market access, agricultural labor productivity), & social (e.g., farmer’s wellbeing, equality). Based on the assessment, we provided a score report of agriculture sustainability for each country (Fig. 1). This effort has been recognized [2] as a vital tool to ensure the accountability of our countries’ commitments towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, & was recently funded by the Belmont Forum [3] to further engage a broader group of stakeholders to explore uses of this rich data to inform policies & stakeholder actions.






[1] Zhang, X., Yao, G., Vishwakarma, S., Dalin, C., Komarek, A.D., Kanter, D.R., Davis, K.F., Pfiefer, K., Zhao, J., Zou, T., D’Odorico, P., Folberth, C., Rodriquez, F.G., Fanzo, J., Rosa, L., Dennison, W., Musumba, M., Heyman, A., Davidson, E.A. (2021) Quantitative assessment of agricultural sustainability reveals divergent priorities among nations. One Earth, 4(9): 1262-1277. (see article here)

[2] FAO in North America, Measuring Progress Towards Sustainable Agriculture (See article link)

[3] Guiding the Pursuit for Sustainability by Co-developing a Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (See article link)