Is there a Sweet Spot in Ethical Trade? A Critical Appraisal of the Potential for Aligning Buyer, Supplier, and Worker Interests in Global Production Networks

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Abstract

We undertake a critical appraisal of the existence of the so- called 'sweet spot' in ethical trade at which the interests of buyers, suppliers, and workers intersect to enable benefits for commercial buyers and suppliers and improvements in the conditions of workers at the base of global production networks. In turn, we take the perspectives of three central actors typically involved in ethical trade: buyers/brands, suppliers in the Global South, and workers at the base of these networks. By applying all three perspectives, we theorize about the circumstances in which the sweet spot in ethical trade might emerge, reflecting an amended version of Gereffi et al.'s (2005) theory of value chain governance. We conclude that the possibility of identifying a sweet spot in ethical trade improves as we move from market-based transactions toward hierarchical governance in global production networks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeoforum
Volume90
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
ISSN0016-7185
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Ethical trade
  • Buyer perspectives
  • Supplier perspectives
  • Worker perspectives
  • Global production networks

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