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Book chapter invitation: Africa and sustainable global value chains

  • 1.  Book chapter invitation: Africa and sustainable global value chains

    Posted 09-25-2019 07:23

    Dear Colleague,

    We are pleased to inform you of an open call for book chapters for an edited book on Africa and Sustainable Global Value Chains.  

    For many years, the notion of 'industrial upgrading' has associated the ability of African nations to prosper with their participation in the global economy. However, there is no indication that 'sustainability upgrading' is following the same path or logic.   Despite the attempts to incorporate sustainability into business practices, many firms in Africa are still faced with numerous challenges related to their environmental, social and economic performance. Research related to the role African firms play in the sustainability of global value chains is much needed. This research is especially needed given the global buyer/African supplier asymmetrical power and governance relationships and the ongoing competitive pressures to reduce costs and increase flexibility to meet global value chain demands.

    This call for chapters is based on a Professional Development Workshop at the Academy of Management held in Boston in August 2019, chaired by Prof. Joseph Sarkis, on the topic of sustainable global value chains. An outcome of this workshop was a need for resources; a book with relevant contributions on the theme - thus, in response a book proposal is being created, led by us (Regina Frei, Sherwat E. Ibrahim and Simonov Kusi-Sarpong) as co-editors. This book proposal will be submitted to the Springer Series on The Greening of Industry Networks Studies. Previous publications in this series are accessible here

    Would you please let us know by 18 October 2019 whether you would like to make a contribution to the edited book? If so, please provide us with an estimated submission date by which you would realistically be able to send us a draft. Please make sure to include a tentative title for your book chapter and how your topic of Sustainability in Africa firms relates to the inclusion/exclusion in Global Value Chains. Besides pure research articles, we welcome practical insights, policy concerns, perspectives, and case studies work.  

    The edited book would make an important contribution to the current debate on aspects of sustainability related to global value chains. We are confident that the book will have the potential to reach a wide readership with Springer Publishers.

    Kindly also forward this open call for chapters to your network of colleagues who might be interested to contribute.
    Proposals should be directed to Regina at <>

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Regina, Sherwat and Simonov

    Further details:

    Africa and Sustainable Global Value Chains (GVCs) - Edited Book Proposal


    GVCs offer an important lens for addressing sustainability issues in Africa. Rather than focusing on the sustainability of a single organization GVCs address the sustainability of inter-firm value chains and global industries as a whole. With little differentiation between value chain creation and social/environmental degradation extending to people and raw material extraction (upstream) and disposal or recycling (downstream), sustainability issues need to be at the forefront of Africa business research interests.


    There is a general agreement that sustainability today can be considered a competitive advantage for a firm looking to join a GVC. Whether sustainability is approached from the viewpoint of an exporting firm motivated to join a GVCs in its respective industry, or whether a firm's continuing contractual or collaborative relationship with a buyer depends on its compliance with sustainability standards, both approaches focus on the ability of firms in Africa to benefit from joining sustainable GVCs.


    Some research and practice questions come to mind: 


    • What is the effect of Global Value Chains on sustainability upgrading in Africa?

    • To what extent do Global value chains include/exclude Africa firms?

    • What is the role of multinational companies looking to comply with sustainability standards when sourcing from Africa countries? 

    • To what extent are multinational buyer firms' "supplier sustainability auditing" and "capacity building" activities successful in achieving alignment with African suppliers on sustainability requirements? 

    • How do African suppliers interpret multinational buyer firms' sustainability requirements, and how do they evaluate the benefit of changing accordingly? 

    • Does the rooted diversity within and among the African nations affect the interpretation of sustainability requirements? 

    • What can be done within the local markets to create a sustainability conscientious producer and consumer?  

    • What are the differences in the supplier situations in other countries versus in Africa?  

    • Does the rooted diversity within and among the African nations affect the diffusion of sustainability practices? 

    • Does adding a cultural or geographical dimension to studying sustainability advance or delay research? 

    • What different contextual lenses should be used in the research agenda for sustainability Africa value chains?


    Sherwat Ibrahim
    Associate Professor
    American University in Cairo