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Liam Campling and Elizabeth Havice

The ‘environment’ is central to all economic activity, everywhere, always. However, GVC scholars have paid only minimal attention to the environment and its formative role in structuring GVCs and interfirm relations, as well as their socio-ecological manifestations. The outcome, the authors suggest, is an important blind spot in GVC scholars’ understanding of how interfirm power relations can actually play out. To help turn scholars’ focus to the analytical opportunities that attention to the environment can offer, the authors identify and review small, but growing, groups of literature that bridge GVCs and the environment around the following thematic areas: (1) materiality; (2) environmental upgrading; (3) waste and post-consumption; and (4) culture and ecology in networks of global production. They note that these four areas are rarely in conversation with each other, though an emerging body of work is building from the advances of each to explore empirically and theorize the constitutive role of the environment in GVCs. They review these integrative efforts in the final section of the chapter, highlighting how they enhance our understandings of GVCs and ‘the environment’ as they intersect with distributive dynamics and unequal power relations that have long been central sites of query in GVC scholarship.

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Liam Campling and Benjamin Selwyn

Global commodity chain, global value chain and global production network (GCC/GVC/GPN) approaches (here simply labelled GVC analysis) are part and parcel of mainstream development theory and practice. This chapter introduces and discusses critically these approaches. It: (1) describes their utility in understanding globalizing processes; (2) traces their lineage and evolution; (3) highlights and explains their key concepts; (4) illuminates some of their limitations; and (5) identifies ways in which they can be advanced further.