National Contexts Matter: The Co-Evolution of Sustainability Standards in Global Value Chains

50 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2011 Last revised: 1 Mar 2013

Stephan Manning

University of Massachusetts at Boston - College of Management

Frank Boons

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Oliver von Hagen

International Trade Centre (UN/WTO)

Juliane Reinecke

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Date Written: August 26, 2012

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the role of key industry and other stakeholders and their embeddedness in particular national contexts in driving the proliferation and co-evolution of sustainability standards, based on the case of the global coffee industry. We find that institutional conditions and market opportunity structures in consuming countries have been important sources of standards variation, for example in the cases of Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and the Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C). In turn, supplier structures in producing countries as well as their linkages with traders and buyers targeting particular consuming countries have been key mechanisms of standards transmission and selection. Unlike prior research, which has emphasized the role of global actors and structures in promoting – and hindering – sustainability initiatives, we argue that national economic and institutional conditions in consuming and producing countries have not only served as important drivers of standards multiplicity and co-evolution, but also as catalysts for the entire global sustainability movement.

Keywords: Sustainability standards, certification, coffee industry, standards adoption, co-evolution

JEL Classification: F13, F16, F18, F53, F55, F59, L15, L32, O13, O19, P45, P48, Q11, Q17, Q28, Q56, L2, L5

Suggested Citation

Manning, Stephan and Boons, Frank and von Hagen, Oliver and Reinecke, Juliane, National Contexts Matter: The Co-Evolution of Sustainability Standards in Global Value Chains (August 26, 2012). Ecological Economics, Vol. 83, pp. 197-209, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1752655

Stephan Manning (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts at Boston - College of Management ( email )

100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125
United States

Frank Boons

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Oliver Von Hagen

International Trade Centre (UN/WTO) ( email )

54-56 Rue de Montbrillant
Geneva, 1202
Switzerland

Juliane Reinecke

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

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