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The Governance of Social Standards in Emerging Markets: An exploration of actors and interests shaping Trustea as a Southern multi-stakeholder initiative

Langford, N.J. (2019) 'The Governance of Social Standards in Emerging Markets: An exploration of actors and interests shaping Trustea as a Southern multi-stakeholder initiative.', Geoforum, 104 . pp. 81-91.

Abstract

Exploitative and inadequate working conditions in developing countries remain a pressing concern in an age of advanced globalisation. As a response to weak regulatory environments, multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) have emerged as a key institution of regulatory governance within globalised production networks. While MSIs governing social standards for workers and producers in North-South trade networks are well-established, the rapid growth of emerging economies raises new questions regarding the governance of production for local and regional markets in the global South. While some scholars have argued that the growth of Southern markets may lead to a “race to the bottom” for work and employment conditions, a number of recent studies have since documented the introduction of Southern MSIs governing production for local markets. This article examines the development of Trustea as a Southern MSI governing the rights and conditions of Indian workers and producers supplying tea to India’s domestic market. Drawing on analysis of production networks (PNs), this article demonstrates the key reasons why firms, state and civil society actors from the global North and global South have come to share a mutual interest in governing tea produced for India’s domestic market. The evidence presented challenges the dominant assumption that Southern MSIs tend to be driven by local actors and processes and instead presents a more complex picture of the evolving relationship between actors from the global North and global South within the development of Southern standards.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2019.06.009
Publisher statement:© 2021 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Date accepted:11 June 2019
Date deposited:21 September 2021
Date of first online publication:20 June 2019
Date first made open access:21 September 2021

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