Sustainability Innovations in Global Value Chains
How can sustainability innovations be developed and implemented within GVCs and associated GPNs to address complex socio-ecological challenges and facilitate better working conditions in the global economy?
Many of the persistent and complex global environmental and societal problems, such as increasing social inequality, climate change, and resource scarcity, have been accelerated by the globalisation of economic activities and unsustainable forms and levels of production and consumption. As a result, there is a growing demand for businesses to drive social and environmental innovation and implement more sustainable business practices in their value chains. However, this is a complex endeavour and there is little knowledge on how this can be achieved. Part of this challenge stems from the need to move beyond technical solutions to promote profound changes to social practices.
This research will:
- develop a conceptual framework for analysing sustainability innovations in the global economy
- investigate opportunities and barriers for sustainability innovations in GVCs and GPNs with a focus on actors from the Global South
- derive and disseminate recommendations for policymakers and practitioners on how to address complex socio-ecological challenges.
This research project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 799041. The Principle Investigator for the project is:
Why is this research needed?
Conceptually, approaches from social innovation studies investigate how more sustainable business practices can be developed and implemented to address environmental and socio-economic challenges. From a spatial perspective, most of the research on social innovation has focused on local and national contexts, even though most economic activities in the global economy are linked across borders and scales and are connected through Global Value Chains (GVC) and associated Global Production Networks (GPN). These two strands of research are rarely put into conversation. Therefore, the research question guiding the project is: How can sustainability innovations be developed and implemented within GVCs and associated GPNs to address complex socio-ecological challenges and facilitate better working conditions in the global economy?
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