Regulating sustainable minerals in electronics supplychains: local power struggles and the ‘hidden costs’ of global tin supply chain governance

Rachael Diprose, Nanang Kurniawan, Kate Macdonald, Poppy Winanti
DOI number
#East Asia and Pacific
#Sustainability standards
#Corporate responsibility and lead firms

Additional info: Published in the Review of International Political Economy
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Voluntary supply chain regulation has proliferated in recent decades in response toconcerns about the social and environmental impacts of global production and trade.Yet the capacity of supply chain regulation to influence production practices on theground has been persistently questioned. Through empirical analysis of transnationalregulatory interventions in the Indonesian tin sector—centered on a multi-stakeholderTin Working Group established by prominent global electronics brands—this paperexplores the challenges and limits of voluntary supply chain governance as it interactswith an entrenched‘extractive settlement’in Indonesia’s major tin producing islands ofBangka and Belitung. Although the Tin Working Group has introduced localized initia-tives to tackle issues such as worker safety and improved land rehabilitation, it has alsocontributed in diffuse and largely unintended ways to consolidating the power of polit-ical and economic elites who benefit from centralized control over resource extraction.In this sense, supply chain governance has generated‘hidden costs’through unin-tended effects on power struggles between competing social groups at national andsub-national levels—generating marginal benefits for ameliorating specific regulatory‘problems’, while consolidating and reproducing barriers to deeper transitions towardsinclusive or sustainable regimes of extractive governance.

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