Given diverse understandings of what sustainability is and what it may constitute across global and regional production networks and value chains, there is a need to rethink what the polysemic concept means in terms of tensions, trade-offs and implications for stakeholder agency and governance.
What is sustainability and what does it constitute? Value chains and production networks involving diverse actors in and from the Global North and South, require stakeholders to reconcile and negotiate diverging meanings and understandings of ‘sustainability’. Tensions and trade-offs are thus involved.Sustainability dynamics are further complicated against the backdrop of rising South-South trade and the emergence of regional production networks and value chains. Crucially, the contested nature of sustainability not only encompasses the diversity of economic, environmental and social objectives, but also the question to whom benefits of ‘sustainability’ measures accrue.
Therefore, there is a need to re-think definitions of sustainability, does it reinforce existing asymmetries of power and agency? What are the key mechanisms that change the landscape of sustainability governance? and how do different understandings of sustainability re-shape development outcomes in production networks?
The panel welcomes papers on issues including, but not limited to:
- Tensions, trade-offs and synergies relating to stakeholders’ diverging understandings of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability in value chains and production networks
- The nexus of economic, social and environmental upgrading in value chains and production networks as key modes of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals
- Alternative forms of sustainability governance: thinking beyond corporate social responsibility and voluntary sustainability standards
- The relationship between sustainability and agency in production networks and value chains
- The relevance of sustainability discourses to debates relating to labour, human and environmental rights in production contexts
Judith Krauss (University of Sheffield)Aarti Krishnan (University of Manchester)
Claudia Pollen (University of Leeds)
Merisa Thompson (University of Birmingham)
Belinda Wu (The Open University)
David Bek (Coventry University)Jill Timms (Coventry University)
Carlos Oya (SOAS)Dafni Skalidou (UEA)Florian Schaefer (Open University)
Eleni Sifaki (University of Manchester)Matt Alford (University of Manchester)
Rory Horner (University of Manchester)Khalid Nadvi (University of Manchester)
Shantonu Abe (University of Cologne)Amelie Bernzen (University of Cologne)
Nungari Mwangi (University of Cambridge)