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National contexts matter: The co-evolution of sustainability standards in global value chains


  • Manning, Stephan
  • Boons, Frank
  • von Hagen, Oliver
  • Reinecke, Juliane


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Manning, Stephan & Boons, Frank & von Hagen, Oliver & Reinecke, Juliane, 2012. "National contexts matter: The co-evolution of sustainability standards in global value chains," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 197-209.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:83:y:2012:i:c:p:197-209
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.08.029

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Valeria Costantini & Francesco Crespi & Giovanni Marin & Elena Paglialunga, 2016. "Eco-innovation, sustainable supply chains and environmental performance in European industries," LEM Papers Series 2016/19, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Sippl, Kristin, 2020. "Southern Responses to Fair Trade Gold: Cooperation, Complaint, Competition, Supplementation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    3. Aurélien Acquier & Bertrand Valiorgue & Thibault Daudigeos, 2017. "Sharing the Shared Value: A Transaction Cost Perspective on Strategic CSR Policies in Global Value Chains," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 139-152, August.
    4. Bosbach, Moritz & Maietta, Ornella Wanda, 2019. "The Implicit Price for Fair Trade Coffee: Does Social Capital Matter?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 34-41.
    5. Heidingsfelder, Jens, 2019. "Private sustainability governance in the making – A case study analysis of the fragmentation of sustainability governance for the gold sector," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-1.
    6. Diane-Laure Arjaliès & Samer Hobeika & Jean-Pierre Ponssard & Sylvaine Poret, 2013. "Le rôle de la labellisation dans la construction d’un marché. Le cas de l’ISR en France," Post-Print hal-02642856, HAL.
    7. Theresa Selfa & Carmen Bain & Renata Moreno, 2014. "Depoliticizing land and water “grabs” in Colombia: the limits of Bonsucro certification for enhancing sustainable biofuel practices," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 31(3), pages 455-468, September.
    8. Dietz, Thomas & Auffenberg, Jennie & Estrella Chong, Andrea & Grabs, Janina & Kilian, Bernard, 2018. "The Voluntary Coffee Standard Index (VOCSI). Developing a Composite Index to Assess and Compare the Strength of Mainstream Voluntary Sustainability Standards in the Global Coffee Industry," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 72-87.
    9. Turcotte Marie-France & Reinecke Juliane & den Hond Frank, 2014. "Explaining variation in the multiplicity of private social and environmental regulation: a multi-case integration across the coffee, forestry and textile sectors," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 151-189, April.
    10. Evgeny Latynskiy & Thomas Berger, 2017. "Assessing the Income Effects of Group Certification for Smallholder Coffee Farmers: Agent-based Simulation in Uganda," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 727-748, September.
    11. Gallemore, Caleb & Guisinger, Amy & Kruuse, Mikkel & Ruysschaert, Denis & Jespersen, Kristjan, 2018. "Escaping the “Teenage” Years: The Politics of Rigor and the Evolution of Private Environmental Standards," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 76-87.
    12. Maftei Daniel, 2013. "The Sustainable Development – A Green Investment Argument," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 233-237, February.
    13. Goldstein, Benjamin & Newell, Joshua P., 2020. "How to track corporations across space and time," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    14. Rashidi, Hamidreza & GhaffarianHoseini, Ali & GhaffarianHoseini, Amirhosein & Nik Sulaiman, Nik Meriam & Tookey, John & Hashim, Nur Awanis, 2015. "Application of wastewater treatment in sustainable design of green built environments: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 845-856.
    15. Marola, Elena & Schöpfner, Judith & Gallemore, Caleb & Jespersen, Kristjan, 2020. "The bandwidth problem in telecoupled systems governance: Certifying sustainable winemaking in Australia and Chile," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(C).
    16. Manning, Stephan & Reinecke, Juliane, 2016. "A modular governance architecture in-the-making: How transnational standard-setters govern sustainability transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 618-633.
    17. Chacko G. Kannothra & Stephan Manning & Nardia Haigh, 2018. "How Hybrids Manage Growth and Social–Business Tensions in Global Supply Chains: The Case of Impact Sourcing," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 148(2), pages 271-290, March.
    18. David Levy & Juliane Reinecke & Stephan Manning, 2016. "The Political Dynamics of Sustainable Coffee: Contested Value Regimes and the Transformation of Sustainability," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 364-401, May.
    19. Atika Wijaya & Pieter Glasbergen & Pieter Leroy & Ari Darmastuti, 2018. "Governance challenges of cocoa partnership projects in Indonesia: seeking synergy in multi-stakeholder arrangements for sustainable agriculture," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 129-153, February.
    20. Latynskiy, Evgeny & Berger, Thomas, 2015. "UTZ certification for groups of smallholder coffee farmers: Hype of hope?," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 229069, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    21. Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, 2016. "Multiple Standards: the Case of the French Building Industry," Policy Papers 2016.08, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.


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