Handbook on Global Value Chains
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Handbook on Global Value Chains

Edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert

Global value chains (GVCs) are a key feature of the global economy in the 21st century. They show how international investment and trade create cross-border production networks that link countries, firms and workers around the globe. This Handbook describes how GVCs arise and vary across industries and countries, and how they have evolved over time in response to economic and political forces. With chapters written by leading interdisciplinary scholars, the Handbook unpacks the key concepts of GVC governance and upgrading, and explores policy implications for advanced and developing economies alike.
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Chapter 12: Bringing the environment into GVC analysis: antecedents and advances

Liam Campling and Elizabeth Havice

Abstract

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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