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Sustainable production and the performance of South African entrepreneurs in a global supply chain. The case of South African table grape producers


  • Peter J. Ras

    (Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa)

  • Walter J. V. Vermeulen

    (Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)


Global trade is strongly growing and becoming connected to the issue of sustainable development in business practices. In recent years this has resulted in businesses on the demand side formulating sets of requirements for suppliers on their performance on corporate social responsibility and sustainable production. In doing this, value systems of the industrialized world are forwarded towards developing countries. It is seen as a way to complement poor sustainability policies on practices in these countries. This relatively new phenomenon of promoting sustainable development through market interactions is quite remarkable. Why would economic actors take up such public interests (abating environmental degradation and social injustice)? From the perspective of developing countries on the supply side of global value chains, being able to commit to such business-to-business standards requires developing world producers to possess certain qualities and capacities. This article reflects on this issue, identifying essential capacities, drawn from literature on (sustainable) entrepreneurship. It develops a model explaining business performance with characteristics of entrepreneurship. The model is tested in practice using data on exporters of table grapes in South Africa. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. Ras & Walter J. V. Vermeulen, 2009. "Sustainable production and the performance of South African entrepreneurs in a global supply chain. The case of South African table grape producers," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 325-340.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:17:y:2009:i:5:p:325-340 DOI: 10.1002/sd.427

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cohen, Boyd & Winn, Monika I., 2007. "Market imperfections, opportunity and sustainable entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 29-49, January.
    2. Hamid Etemad, 2004. "International Entrepreneurship as a Dynamic Adaptive System: Towards a Grounded Theory," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 2(1_2), pages 5-59, March.
    3. Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
    4. Martin Hess & Neil M Coe, 2006. "Making connections: global production networks, standards, and embeddedness in the mobile-telecommunications industry," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(7), pages 1205-1227, July.
    5. Catherine Dolan & John Humphrey, 2004. "Changing governance patterns in the trade in fresh vegetables between Africa and the United Kingdom," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(3), pages 491-509, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sadaat Ali Yawar & Stefan Seuring, 2017. "Management of Social Issues in Supply Chains: A Literature Review Exploring Social Issues, Actions and Performance Outcomes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 621-643, March.
    2. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-496 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Vermeulen, W.J.V. & Kok, M.T.J., 2012. "Government interventions in sustainable supply chain governance: Experience in Dutch front-running cases," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 183-196.
    4. repec:eee:jbrese:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:247-256 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hall, Jeremy K. & Daneke, Gregory A. & Lenox, Michael J., 2010. "Sustainable development and entrepreneurship: Past contributions and future directions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 439-448, September.

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