18 Dec 2020
Sasin professor’s research paper published in Sustainable Consumption and Production, Volume IIDespite the increasing attention of Global Value Chain (GVC) scholars towards multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) for social sustainability, international buyers such as apparel retailers (buyers) keep being referred to as ‘lead’ change agents. In this chapter, I problematize this inherent notion of buyers’ change agency in GVC literature, arguing for the need to understand more deeply the contribution of developing countries’ manufacturers to MSIs and their ability to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from upstream. I do so by conveying a powerful analysis of DBL Group (DBL), one of the most socially proactive manufacturers operating in the Bangladeshi apparel supply chain. By drawing closely on DBL’s approach in articulating its People programmes for social sustainability, this chapter helps conceptualize a three-step governance process based on: (1) learning, (2) integrating and (3) scaling. This process informs how developing countries’ manufacturers can participate with MSIs to lead and diffuse social sustainability programmes in the chain, ultimately helping achieve the SDGs. The chapter concludes with a main discussion on the implications of buyers’ change agency assumed in GVC literature. In so doing, it conveys five distinct takeaways of theoretical and practical import. The chapter is retrievable online.
Dr. Enrico Fontana’s research lies within the organizational domain and takes an interdisciplinary approach to study the role of business in society. While acknowledging the indigenous meaning associated with executing corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, his projects aim to shine a spotlight into how local organizational players in the Global South socially navigate embedded networked and/or institutionalized arrangements to do (or not to do) CSR. In so doing, his research applies different levels of analysis, spanning from the micro to the macro dimension.
About the book: Sustainable Consumption and Production, Volume II: Circular Economy and Beyond aims to explore the sustainable consumption and production transition to a circular economy, while addressing critical global challenges by innovating and transforming product and service markets towards sustainable development.