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Book Launch: Batman Saves the Congo
9 September 2021
Can a celebrity be a “disrupter,” promoting strategic partnerships to bring new ideas and funding to revitalize the development field—or are celebrities just charismatic ambassadors for big business? Examining the role of the rich and famous in development and humanitarianism, Batman Saves the Congo argues that celebrities do both, and that understanding why and how yields insight into the realities of neoliberal development. In 2010, entertainer Ben Affleck, known for his superhero performance as Batman, launched the Eastern Congo Initiative to bring a new approach to the region’s development. This case study is at the center of Batman Saves the Congo.
Paper development seminar: Knowledge in Global Development and Humanitarianism
9 September 2021
In this seminar, Prof. Lisa Ann Richey and visiting scholar Dr. Consolata Raphael Sulley (University of Dar es Salaam) presented a paper exploring the work of decolonizing a concept, drawing on research findings and experiences from the Danida-funded project Everyday Humanitarianism in Tanzania (EHTZ). The authors argue that decolonizing a concept takes place through the messy practice of collaborative research aimed at theory building as an iterative back-and-forth exchange, rather than a transplant of Northern theory on the South, or its opposite. Verena Girschik, Hans Krause Hansen and Amanda Harman generously acted as discussants, after which the floor was opened up for comments from the floor, including team members from the EHTZ project who joined from Tanzania via Zoom.
Paper Development Seminar: Knowledge and Global Development
27 April 2021
In this seminar, Maha Rafi Atal presented on the "sweet spot" of NGO-Business alignment in CSR responses to global refugee crises. She argues that “the sweet spot” of NGO-business alignment shapes internal and external partnership practices and reinforces existing power relations between the partner organizations. This argument is made against the context that partnerships between for-profit and non-profit actors have become widely recognized as a key mechanism in solving societal “grand challenges.” CSR literature has emphasized the importance of NGO-business alignment for the success and impact of cross-sector partnerships. However, this alignment is often considered an initial and single step in the partnership.
Paper Development Seminar No. 5: Sustainability Governance Group
16 April 2021
With a common thread of global value chain dynamics, this seminar combined two paper presentations with distinctly different empirical focuses. The first, by Lotte Thomsen, looks at how valuation in the gemstone and jewerly sector is intertwined the geographic association, or disassociation, with practices that are beneficial, or damaging, to sales and brand reputation. The second, by Stefano Ponte, examined the 'Prosecco miracle', whereby a relatively unknown Italian wine became a globally recognised product. In tracing this process, Ponte unveiled hidden economic, social and environmental costs of agro-food value chains shape various layers of conflict and forms of inequality.
Paper Development Seminar: Knowledge & Development Group
9 November 2020
Themed on natural resources, sustainability and human rights in South East Asia, this seminar consisted of two presentations. The first, by Tine Strand Thomsen, Rukhsar Asif and Maria Figueroa, looked at complex environmental challenges of the palm oil industry. Focussing specifically on EU involvement in forest fires in Indonesia, it challenged the efficacy of isolated top-down approaches in isolation to environmental management. The second, by Verena Girschik (CBS), Htwe Htwe Thein (Curtin University) and Jasper Hotho (CBS) discussed the rise of civil society and the Letpadaung copper mine in Myanmar, showing how business and government frame and shape the project over time to negotiate its continuation.
Paper Development Seminar No.4: Sustainability Governance Group
27 October 2020
In this seminar, two presentations were made. The first by Sara Jespersen (CBS) and the second by Peter-Lund Thomsen and Uzma Rehman (CBS). Sara Jespersen investigated tax professionals’ approach to compliance in corporate tax matters. The describes the social realities of tax professionals in a context of a dynamic interaction between the developments of different facets of regulation and continuous legal ambiguity. Peter-Lund Thomsen and Uzma Rehman explored the ethical delimmas of value chain development in India's bamboo industry. They focussed specifically on women entrepreneurship and how value chain (dis)integration and diverse local production contexts simultaneously facilitate and undermine the tribal entrepreneurship of women.
IDS-CBDS Seminar: Reconfiguring Global Value Chains under Financialization
1 October 2020
Understanding the changing dynamics of the global economy requires knowledge of how value is created and distributed. Global Value Chains (GVCs) refer to the range of activities carried out to bring a product or service from its conception to its end use, consumption, recycling or re-use. In recent years, scholars have increasingly drawn attention to how GVCs co-exist and are entangled with global financial flows. They have proposed the study of Global Wealth Chains (GWCs) and drawn attention to the increasing financialization of the domestic and world economy. This seminar explored the continued relevance of the GVC concept under financialization and examined how wealth and value are distributed in light of this. It reflected on the importance of place, discussed the role of the state and other non-market actors, and sought to provide insights into how contemporary capitalism is reconfiguring.
Paper Development Seminar No.3: Sustainability Governance Group
28 September 2020
For this seminar, the SGG research cluster invited Rieneke Slager from University of Groningen, as well two CBDS scholars, Rachel Alexander and Juliane Lang, to present their working papers. Rieneke Slager wrote about how meta-organizations in the sustainability field, such as the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), orchestrate collective action after their formation. Rachel Alexander examined the effectiveness of business case sustainability initiatives as a pathway to upgrading, using Bangldesh's garment sector as an example. Juliane Lang analyzed dynamics of institutional power and bargaining power held by Biotech MNCs in global agricultural value chains.
Annual Lecture of the Centre for Business and Development Studies
14 September 2020
CBDS hosted its annual lecture providing discussions on a variety of contemporary issues in the field of business and development. The programme included the following: Andrew Crane (University of Bath) presented on Business, Modern Slavery and Freedom, discussing 'modern slavery' in developing countries as both a human rights crisis and a business problem, while offering thoughts on how to address it; Dinah Rajak (University of Sussex) presented on Global Markets, Local Enterprise and the Promise of Inclusion, exploring the complications faced by women entrepreneurs in Kenya while dealing with multinational corporations; finally, Michael Wendelboe Hansen and Peter Lund-Thomsen (CBS), provided a summary of the field's current state of affairs in a presentation of their recently published book Business and Development Studies: Issues and Perspectives.
Watch the lecture here
Commodifying COVID: Consumption as compassion in a global pandemic
19 August 2020
"Not every time is the right time for real-time marketing". Maha Rafi Atal and Lisa Ann Richey from CBDS and CoCo research project collected and analyzed corporate communication material during the global Covid pandemic. In this seminar, they presented a paper that has come out of this research. Following the presentation, Verena Girschik from CBDS and Anne Vestergaard from the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility discussed the paper and then open for comments from all participants. You can access a research briefing by Lisa Ann Richey and Maha Rafi Atal on the topic "Commodifying Covid" here.
IDS-CBDS Webinar No.2: Energy Transitions - North-South vs. South-South Investment
25 June 2020
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a plan of action for the people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership through 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Renewable energy investments could be a sustainable alternative toward reaching the goal of Energy for All and to fight climate change, however, we need to develop a better understanding of the impacts on investments towards SDGs. The second seminar of the CBDS-IDS webinar series focused on Goal 7, Energy for All, that aims to give all people the right to cheap, clean, and efficient energy, while protecting the environment and fighting climate change. The discussion particularly focused on the differences between traditional investors and donors from the developed countries and those from the fast industrializing countries like China and India, and compare their roles and contributions in achieving SDG 7 in the global South.
Read more about the IDS-CBDS Webinar Series
Competition, Inequality and B-BBEE: Lessons from quota allocations in industrial fisheries
11 June 2020
Stefano Ponte and Thando Vilakazi (Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development, University of Johannesburg)
shared insights from their recent working paper which draws on detailed interviews with industry players in the Hake Deep Sea Trawl fishery in South Africa. The paper examines the interactions between industrial fishery quota allocations by the government, black economic empowerment policy and transformation, and competition dynamics to assess the potential and limitations of regulatory and market approaches in addressing inequality in South Africa. The session was chaired by Moenieba Isaacs from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS).
Paper Development Seminar No.2: Sustainability Governance Group
19 May 2020
In this webinar, the research cluster invited two visiting PhD students from Kings College London and Zeppelin University to present work in progress and discuss it with researchers from CBDS and CBS Sustainability. The overall theme was the role of CSR in shaping relations between private sector and government. Onna Malou van den Broek from Kings College presented on the relationship between CSR and political access in the context of the EU Commission. Max Nagel from Zeppelin University presented on variances in attitudes towards CSR and role perceptions of civil servants in a context of local governments.
IDS-CBDS Webinar No.1: Institutional influences and SME development in Africa
14 May 2020
CBDS collaborates with IDS Sussex in a virtual seminar series that explores major business and development issues at the core of joint research interests. This first webinar focused on SME development in Africa. Søren Jeppesen from CBDS presented on "Local firm growth in an Era of Rising Africa: The case of Food Processing Firms in Zambia". Jodie Thorpe from IDS presented on "Testing the Theory of Change for Supplier development in Natural Resource Sectors in East Africa". After the discussion, the groups explored further ideas for research. In 2020, this webinar series will continue with three additional events. It is open to all members of the Centre for Business and Development Studies at CBS, and the Business and Development Centre at IDS, and their invited guests. For further info please contact Jacobo Ramirez.
Corporate-Humanitarian Aid in the Migration and Refugee Crisis
24 April 2020
PhD fellow Sofie Elbæk Henriksen, co-supervised by CBDS researcher Lisa Ann Richey and Sine Plambech, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, gave her first online seminar. She presented work in progress on the business of refugee rescue in the European Union, where companies such as Google and Microsoft get involved in addressing the migration and refugee crisis. The paper was discussed by colleagues from CBS and Lund University.
Competition and Power in Global Value Chains
20 February 2020
Jointly hosted by CBDS and the Digital Transformations Platform, this seminar consisted of two presentations involving guest speakers from the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development at University of Johannesburg. The first presentation focused on two industry case studies from South Africa, analyzing power dynamics through a framework for the typology of power in global value chains. The second presentation gave insight into the political economy of app-based banking products in South Africa, examining most recent technological changes transforming the banking sector.
Navigating Inequality and Sustainability along Supply Chains
5 February 2020
The Center for Business and Development Studies (CBDS) invited for a seminar on "Navigating Inequality and Sustainability along Supply Chains. Two presentations were held: One by visitor Thando Vilakazi from CCRED, University of Johannesburg on "Competition and Inequality in Industrial Fisheries: Lessons from Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and fishery quota allocations in South Africa", working together with CBDS director Stefano Ponte. The second presentation by Andreas Wieland from the Department of Operations Management on "Navigating the Supply Chain" covered a socio-ecological perspective on supply chain management.
CDBS Visit to IDS Sussex
11-12 December 2019
Søren Jeppesen and Jacobo Ramirez members of the Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation for Development (EMID), research cluster at CDBS visited (11-12 December) the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), based at the University of Sussex, England. They were hosted by Jodie Thorpe and Phil Mader from the Business, Markets and State (BMS) research cluster at IDS.
They engaged in a workshop with MA Globalisation, Business and Development Students, discussed CDBS and IDS’ strategies and core groups/clusters, study programs and previous collaborations with Melissa Leach, IDS' Director. Furthermore, they took part in a workshop with IDS’ fellows to map areas of expertise and strategies priorities between CDBS and IDS (as well as SPRU at University of Sussex) and discussed opportunities for joint research proposals and collaboration with the IDS Development Office. As a round-up, they held an open seminar entitled: "The Social Responsibility of Firms in Developing Countries: Critical Management Perspectives".
Business, Inequality and Development
3 December 2019
On occasion of the launch of the new Handbook on Global Value Chains, co-editor and CBDS director Stefano Ponte and key contributors Jennifer Bair, Liam Campling and Florence Palpacuer gave a brief presentation of the Handbook, followed by a panel discussion on governance and upgrading in global value chains, inequality and development.
About the book:
Global value chains (GVCs) are a key feature of the global economy in the 21st century. They show how international investment and trade create cross-border production networks that link countries, firms and workers around the globe. This Handbook describes how GVCs arise and vary across industries and countries, and how they have evolved over time in response to economic and political forces. With chapters written by leading interdisciplinary scholars, the Handbook unpacks the key concepts of GVC governance and upgrading, and explores policy implications for advanced and developing economies alike.
Refugee Shelter in a Logistical World: Designing Humanitarian Goods for Supply-Chain Humanitarianism
28 November 2019
Focusing on the IKEA Foundation-sponsored “Better Shelter”, guest speaker Elisa Pascucci explored the role of logistical calculative rationales in the provision of emergency housing for refugees. She talked about the technologies that allow refugee shelter products – conceptualized as “humanitarian goods” – to circulate across production sites, camps, and disaster and border zones. In doing so, she highlighted their connections to broader infrastructures and commercial networks in what recent literature has called “supply-chain humanitarianism” (Ziadah, 2019).
Elisa Pascucci (PhD Sussex, UK) is postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She is a human geographer whose research interests include humanitarian infrastructures and economies in the Mediterranean and Middle East, the social effects and everyday politics of border regimes, and migrant and refugee political agency and mobilization. Elisa is also affiliated researcher in the project HUMBorders, funded by the Norwegian Research Council and based at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Her work has been published, among others, in the journals Global Networks, Area, International Political Sociology and Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space.
Paper Development Seminar No.1
Joint Sustainability Governance Group
6 November 2019
The Joint Sustainability Governance Group, a joint research cluster between the Centre for Business and Development Studies and CBS Sustainability, invited to their first Paper Development Seminar. Steen Vallentin from CBS Sustainability presented a book chapter co-authored with Jeremy Moon on "Tax Avoidance and Corporate Irresponsibility – CSR as Problem or Solution?" and Luisa Murphy, PhD fellow in Corporate Sustainability at CBS presented a paper draft based on her PhD on "'Push' and 'Pull' in Multi-stakeholder Initiatives".
Book launch: Business, Power and Sustainability in a World of Global Value Chains - Stefano Ponte
23 October 2019
Stefano Ponte, Director of CBDS, launched his new book 'Business, Power and Sustainability in a World of Global Value Chains' at CBS on 23 October. The book presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion with CBDS researchers and professors from across CBS, as well as an open discussion.
About the book: The interaction of sustainability governance and global value chains has crucial implications the world over. When it comes to sustainability the last decade has witnessed the birth of hybrid forms of governance where business, civil society and public actors interact at different levels, leading to a focus on concepts of legitimacy within multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs). Based in over 15 years of theoretical engagement and field research, Business, Power and Sustainability draws from both labour-intensive value chains, such as in the agro-food sector (coffee, wine, fish, biofuels, palm oil), and from capital-intensive value chains such as in shipping and aviation, to discuss how sustainability governance can be best designed, managed and institutionalized in today’s world of global value chains (GVCs). Examining current theoretical and analytical efforts aimed at including sustainability issues in GVC governance theory, it expands on recent work examining GVC upgrading by introducing the concept of environmental upgrading; and through new conceptions of orchestration, it provides suggestions for how governments and international organizations can best facilitate the achievement of sustainability goals.
Joint Seminar with the Communication, Organization and Governance Cluster
3 October 2019
The Communication, Organization, and Governance (COG) Cluster invited to a seminar co-hosted by CBDS, where Magali Gravier from COG presented her research on language as a feature of bureaucratic representation in ECOWAS. CBDS researchers Søren Jeppesen and Thilde Langevang presented a paper on management education in Uganda co-authored by our colleague Maribel Blasco from COG.
Knowledge and Global Development: Paper Development Seminar No.2
9 September 2019
The cluster "Knowledge and Global Development" invited to their second seminar. Lisa Ann Richey presented a paper on Brand Aid and value chain partnerships in the the case of Starbucks. Hans Krause Hansen presented a paper co-authored with Julie Uldam on transnational police work.
Women Entrepreneurship in the Urban Slums of Pakistan
2 July 2019
Sana Illahe presented on the challenges and opportunities available to women entrepreneurs in the urban slums of Pakistan. She started by introducing the context of urban slums in Pakistan. There are a number of challenges present for women entrepreneurs in these communities. Zeroing in on the challenge of access to finance, she will bring in Kashf Foundation (KF). KF itself is envisioned and run by a woman entrepreneur, provides financial access to women entrepreneurs in these slum communities, along with other opportunities such as human and social capital building, to ensure success of their businesses.
When Corporate Human Rights Responsibility takes a ‘positive’ turn
17 June 2019
Dr. Samentha Goethals presented "Towards a positive narrative about refugees: Mobilizing or responsibilizing business in response to forced-displacement?".
Dr. Samentha Goethals is a Vice Chancellor Research Fellow, at the Centre for Business, Society and Global Challenges, Oxford Brookes Business School. One of her key research interests relates to the role and responsibility of businesses in safeguarding the rights of people on the move including refugees and migrant workers. Having taught English and Literacy to refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford for many years, this led her interest in this topic on which she has conducted research in the UK and in the Middle East. She shared a draft paper related to that topic with a view to receiving feedback to advance it towards publication in Journal of Business Ethics at the end of her visit at CBS.
A Political Economy of National Oil Companies and Late Industrialisation
4 June 2019
Diving into the political economy of oil-based industrialisation in Malaysia, visiting researcher Charlotte Huebner from SOAS, University of London presented work in progress on the role of a state-owned ‘National Oil Company’ (NOC) as an industrial policy instrument for developing domestic supplier companies. The presentation was followed by feedback and discussion.
Working title of the presented work: A Political Economy of National Oil Companies and Late Industrialisation: Petronas and Supplier development in Malaysia.
Competition, Industrial Development and Structural Transformation: Lessons from South Africa
28 May 2019
Key themes concerned the dynamics of competition policy, productivity and industrial development, as well as the evolution of business power and state regulation in the process of structural transformation in the South African economy.
Competition policy and industrial development in South Africa by Simon Roberts* and Pamela Mondliwa (University of Johannesburg)
Resource misallocation and total factor productivity in South African manufacturing firms by Carol Newman (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) John Rand* (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) Mpho Tsebe (National Treasury, South Africa)
The evolution of power and governance in the South African wine value chain by Stefano Ponte* (CBS)
The political economy of structural transformation in South Africa by Sumayya Goga, Pamela Mondliwa and Simon Roberts* (University of Johannesburg)
Workshop: Environmental Upgrading in Global Value Chains
23 May 2019
In this workshop, we aimed at extending the discussion of upgrading (and downgrading) beyond its economic and social aspects to unpack its environmental dimensions, and explore the interconnectedness of the three. By bringing together academics across disciplines, the workshops aimed to nuance, re-conceptualize and provide new empirics on environmental upgrading, in terms of GVC and international business literature – while also linking it to broader debates on sustainable development and green growth and addressing emerging trends.
Paper presentations by Aarti Krishnan from University of Manchester, Valentina de Marchi from University of Padova, Peter Lund-Thomsen from CBS and CBDS director Stefano Ponte together with René Taudal Poulsen from CBS were followed by discussant interventions and structured discussion in view of identifying the most promising venues for future research and collaboration, the challenges and opportunities of environmental upgrading and their implications for broader discussions on the current restructuring of the global economy.
CBS Africa Initiative Seminar No.3
21 May 2019
CBS has a growing numbers of research activities focusing on different exciting topics in different parts of the African continent. At the last round of allocations from the so-called Consultative Research Committee for Development Research (FFU) late 2018, CBS received a historically high number of approvals of a total sum of around 54 mil. DKK. Four of the research projects are dealing with topical and salient issues on the African continent (see below). As the projects are starting up, we had the pleasure to invite you to learn more about their aims and content. At this seminar, the key CBS researchers involved gave an insight into the new projects. Key themes were Creative Industries, Crowdfunding, Everyday Humanitarianism and Grassroot Innovations in Africa.
Critical Cross-Cultural Management (CCM): Contours and Contributions
15 May 2019
In this guest lecture, Professor Jasmin Mahadevan (JM) outlined five perspectives in Cross-Cultural Management (CCM) studies which she assumes to constitute to a Critical CCM. The comparative CCM perspective and the interactional interactionist perspective constitute the mainstream CCM approach, but she argues that we need to add three more for doing the realities of contemporary CCM justice. These are the cultural perspective which acknowledges the complexity of culture in the anthropological sense and moves beyond the selective approach to what culture involves as currently prevalent in CCM (e.g. culture as immaterial values or communication). Together, these three perspectives enable us to reflect upon culture, to uncover relative differences between cultures and to potentially move beyond them in intercultural interactions.
Furthermore, JM suggests that CCM needs to take diversity, cultural hybridity and multiple identities seriously (critical multiple cultures perspective), and to acknowledge power as major constituent of CCM (power-sensitive perspective). These five perspectives are conceptual and not completely separate in research and practice, nonetheless thinking about a Critical CCM in terms of these perspectives serves to contribute to a more culturally- and historically-aware, power-sensitive and reflexive CCM theory and practice.
Tackling Modern Slavery in India through Innovation, Collaboration and Best Practice
13 May 2019
The session consisted of an introduction by Peter Lund-Thomsen, followed by presentations of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and C&A Foundation on their work on preventing modern slavery. Three organizations shared innovative approaches that participants could learn and implement in their own work. This was followed by a moderated discussion with participants to identify the way forward on the work on modern slavery issues in India from a brand and a government perspective.
Knowledge and Global Development: Paper Development Seminar No.1
9 May 2019
The Knowledge and Global Development research cluster had a Paper Development Seminar where work in progress was presented and discussed in order to share ongoing research and receive peer feedback. Matthew Archer presented a draft on "Transparency against sustainability", aiming to unravel paradoxes in the relation between transparency and sustainability. Maha Rafi Atal presented a draft on “The Janus Faces of Silicon Valley” about the power of platform companies.
CBS Africa Initiative’s 2nd Seminar 2019
25 April 2019
The CBS Africa Initiative had speakers from the Danish Impact Business Network on stage, with four of our graduates-cum-entrepreneurs giving exciting insights into their vision(s) as part of their Africa focused initiatives: BLUETOWN (Access to wifi for all), JamiiPay (Digitalization of saving groups in Ethiopia), MPAY-G (Access to affordable, decentralized green energy).
Find more information on the CBS Africa Initiative here.
Inaugural Lecture by Lisa Ann Richey-Commodifying Compassion: Linking Ethical Consumption with Everyday Humanitarianism
1 February 2019
Have you purchased a bottle of Kildevæld water that promises clean water for African children, bought a soft toy from IKEA for families affected by disaster, or perhaps drank a ‘cup of hope’ with Starbucks coffee from Eastern Congo? Today’s marketplace is inundated with products supporting humanitarian causes that promise to give aid to distant beneficiaries, provide ‘good feelings’ to consumers and promote the brands of corporations and humanitarian NGOs. These ‘Brand Aid’ initiatives provide a neoliberal solution to humanitarian crises and sustainable development challenges by linking privatized politics of consumption to global change. Lisa Ann Richey's inaugural lecture drew on two decades of research examining the relationships between global values and local practices of ‘humanitarianism’ to understand how ‘helping’ has become a marketable commodity and how this impacts humanitarianism both symbolically and materially.
This lecture explored the implications of commodifying compassion for business, politics and individual social relations.
Brazil: What can we expect from the new Bolsonaro Government?
7 February 2019
Mr. Jair Bolsonaro of the Partido Social Liberal (PSL) took office on the 1st of January 2019 as President of Brazil. He has already announced political and economic reforms. For example, he has adopted more free-market views in the aim to revive Brazil’s economy. However, given Mr. Bolsonaro’s statist and nationalist past, it is uncertain how strongly he holds these free-market views. The objective of this seminar was to present changes in Brazil’s political and economic landscapes, and discuss their implications for Denmark’s exports.
Digital Humanitarianism in Africa
8 March 2019
The CBS Africa Initiative, the Commodifying Compassion Project and the Centre for Business and Development Studies were excited to have Dr. Kate Wright visit the Department, giving an insight into her latest research on Digital Humanitarianism and launching her new book “Who’s Reporting Africa Now?” at the first CBDS seminar in 2019. The talk was followed by an open discussion and a short wine reception at CBS.