Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Sustainable Development: In the Shadows of Large Lead Firms in Global Value Chains
Journal of International Business Policy, 4 (1), 80-101. https://doi.org/10.1057/s42214-020-00089-z
45 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2021 Last revised: 17 Mar 2021
Date Written: 2021
The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the potential contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and derive implications for policy makers based on the insights. Our findings indicate that despite their comparatively smaller size, SMEs can contribute significantly to the achievement of the SDGs. We conclude that both lead firms and policy makers need to take a more differentiated approach in their interactions with SMEs. Instead of universally regarding smaller firms as standard takers, lead firms and policy makers need to acknowledge that they can make a significant contribution to standard-setting and standard-adapting efforts. Consequently, SMEs need to be regarded as an important resource in multi-stakeholder initiatives regarding the SDGs.
Keywords: sustainable development goals (SDGs), global value chains, small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), multinational enterprises (MNEs), responsible business, flexible pattern matching
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