Research Network
Sustainable Global Supply Chains

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New media

podcast
Decent work through South-South Value Chains?
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video
Dr. Tilman Altenburg speaks about the launching of the "Sustainable Global Supply Chains Report 2022"
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podcast
Renewables pull: climate neutrality and supply chains
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New blogs

blog
Why do countries experience diverging job growth trajectories in GVCs?
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blog
Circular Value Chains: An Enhanced Approach To Assess Value Capture and Upgrading
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blog
Promoting sustainable minerals through global supply chains: scaling up or crowding out sustainability?
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New publications

publication
Die neue Geopolitik der Lieferketten – "Friend-shoring" als Zielvorgabe für den Umbau von Lieferketten

Eine lange Reihe von Störungen des Welthandels in den letzten Jahren hat eine Reorganisation der internationalen Lieferketten auf die politische Tagesordnung gebracht. Die Unregelmäßigkeiten begannen mit dem Handelskrieg zwischen den USA und China, setzten sich fort mit der Covid-19-Pandemie und den dadurch ver­ursachten Unterbrechungen der Versorgungsketten und kulminierten zuletzt nach Russlands Einmarsch in der Ukraine wegen der darauf folgenden Sanktionen und Exportkontrollen. Das Risiko einer Unterbrechung der Lieferbeziehungen zwingt die Unternehmen mittlerweile in viel stärkerem Maße als früher dazu, politische Fakto­ren nicht nur »einzupreisen«, sondern auch auf Vorgaben der Politik zu reagieren. Allerdings sind die realistischen Fristen für den Umbau von Lieferketten, besonders wenn diese sehr komplex und lang sind, kaum kompatibel mit den kurzen Reak­tions­zeiten, die von der Politik erwartet werden. Es gilt ein Verfahren zu entwickeln, mit dem politische Lieferkettenrisiken effektiver bearbeitet werden können und das für alle Teilnehmer transparent ist.

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publication
Sustainability and global value chains in Africa: Introduction to the Special Issue

The challenges and opportunities facing African organizations reflect a long history of tensions, tragedies, triumphs, and accomplishments in relationships across continental boundaries. For example, Africa has long been a source of critical minerals and other raw materials that are integral to a wide range of global industries, but scholars of management have not integrated an understanding of Africa's role in global commerce fully in research on international exchange. Perhaps most importantly, scholarship in the field of management has not addressed the extensive opportunities for the development of innovative ideas, capabilities, capacities, inventions, and breakthroughs that would be made possible by international investments in human development and human capital on the continent. Resolving African problems and pursuing African opportunity requires renewed commitment by management scholars to this agenda. In this introductory article, we focus particularly on the structure of relationships across continental boundaries through global value chains (GVCs) and the role political and corporate sustainability conversations and initiatives play. We also seek to explore their implications especially for African organizations that simultaneously pursue economic growth and constructive social and environmental impact. We conclude with a framework for further study by management scholars on these important issues.

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publication
Sustainable Global Supply Chains Report 2022

Global supply chains affect the economy, the environment and social welfare in many ways. Worldwide, economies are experiencing global supply shortages today, affecting key industries such as automotive and consumer electronics as well as vaccine and medical supplies industries. These preoccupy policymakers, who are debating independent national production capacities and restrictions on international trade, but also large companies, which consider reshoring production and abandoning just-in-time procurement. At the same time, the greening of the global economy requires a restructuring of global production to massively decrease its environmental footprint. This creates new supply chain challenges – how to move towards circular economies and how to reorient energy-intensive industries towards renewables and green hydrogen, for example. And let‘s not forget: Consumers are increasingly demanding higher social and environmental standards. Transparency requirements and binding due diligence obligations will in particular affect countries that export raw materials and labour-intensive goods produced under problematic environmental and social conditions. All of this calls for policies that shape global supply chains in accordance with globally agreed social and environmental objectives. Policies along these lines will have to balance the legitimate interests of different countries and they may easily fail to achieve their objectives unless they are firmly grounded in a thorough understanding of the respective structures in supply chains, including the power relations between the actors. Further, the economic, social and environmental effects of alternative policy options need to be well understood. Science can make an important contribution here, especially if it maintains a constant dialogue with politics and society. This is why the international “Research Network Sustainable Global Supply Chains” was initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It currently comprises about 100 internationally leading scientists from all over the world and is jointly coordinated by our four institutes. Its tasks are: To conduct and stimulate research that contributes to making supply chains more sustainable; and to collect and synthesize the best international research on this topic and make it accessible to policy makers and other societal actors. In addition to its own research, the network organises academic conferences and discussions with policymakers, organises a blog and produces podcasts. With this report – the first in a new annual series – we present new research highlights, provide a forum to debate controversial supply chain topics and identify policy-relevant research gaps for the network‘s future work. The report is, at the same time, an invitation to participate in the discussions on how investment, production and trade will be reorganized in a global economy that has to respond to geopolitical challenges.

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