Stefano Ponte · 2019
New Political Economy · Informa UK Limited

Green Capital Accumulation: Business and Sustainability Management in a World of Global Value Chains

Tackling climate change and other environmental crises entails a critical reflection on processes and outcomes that are behind sustainability management by business. Sustainability has become a commodity itself, to be traded, bought, sold and managed like all others. How lead firms in global value chains (GVCs) address sustainability issues has become a key competitive element and a source of value creation and capture – facilitating a process of ‘green capital accumulation’. Sustainability management is emerging as a fourth key capitalist dynamic in addition to cost minimisation, flexibility and speed (Coe and Yeung 2015) – leading corporations to devise new spatial, organisational and technological ‘fixes’ to ensure continued capital accumulation. Public actors and civil society groups can address this situation, but their strategies need to be informed by the daily practices, power relations and governance structures of GVCs. Sustainability orchestration by these actors is more likely to succeed when: it employs appropriate combinations of directive and facilitative instruments that reinforce each other; improves issue visibility; provides incentives that facilitate the alignment of private and public sector interests; and leverages specific pressure points at key nodes of GVCs.

Full publication is available on: DOI 10.1080/13563467.2019.1581152

Contributors from our Network

Stefano Ponte

Stefano Ponte
Copenhagen Business School

Stefano Ponte is a Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the Centre for Business and Development Studies at Copenhagen Business School. His research focuses on governance dynamics, and economic and environmental upgrading trajectories in global value chains — especially in developing countries and in Africa. He is particularly interested in how sustainability standards, labels and certifications shape agro-food value chains, and in how different forms of partnerships affect sustainability outcomes.

Read more about Stefano Ponte ›

Share on:

Stay tuned on the latest news from our research network.