Accepted paper:

Environmental embeddedness in GPNs: case of Kenyan horticulture farmers


Aarti Krishnan (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

The environment not been explored within conceptualizations of embeddedness in GPNs. This paper extends territorial embeddedness to include natural capital and climate change, suggesting ecologically reciprocal relationships develop between farmers and their environment when they embed into GPNs.

Paper long abstract:

The literature on global production networks, including its conceptualisation of embeddedness, has insufficiently focused on the natural environment. Nature is symmetrically entangled with the economic and social. This is especially so for farmers since their livelihoods and conservation of their natural environment are inseparable. There is a need to scrutinize factors beyond economic, political and social in order to truly understand who is embedded in what and the related implications. This paper extends the conceptualization of territorial embeddedness to include the natural environment, not only in terms of natural capital, but also climate variability and shocks.

Participating in new production networks can involve ecologically re-embedding, requiring a need to reshape relationships between humans and the natural environment. Feedback loops arising from ecologically reciprocal relationships are a result of the culture within society and the power struggles that occur within interactions in re-embedded networks. This paper refers to this dynamic process of dis-embedding from indigenous networks and re-embedding in new networks, territories, and following new environmental practices as "re-environmentalization".

This paper uses a mixed method approach that draws of 93 interviews, 5 focus group discussions and a survey of 579 horticulture farmers in Kenya to elaborate "re-environmentalization" and to show whether it leads to leads to positive or negative outcomes for producers. This article quantifies different forms of embeddedness across farmers supplying into different end markets (global, regional and local). Thereby, the paper not only advances 'how' the process of "re-environmentalization" occurs, but also demonstrates the extent.

panel I5
Environmental upgrading, trade and globalisation: implications for sustainable development