CLUSTERS & PROJECTS
Our research center is organized in three cross-cutting research clusters: 1) Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation in Development (EMID); 2) Sustainability Governance Group (SGG); and 3) Knowledge and Global Development (KGD). Find information below on ongoing projects related to each cluster. We carry out critical, engaged and theoretically-driven research on the roles of business, government and civil society in promoting inclusive, just and sustainable development – with a focus on power dynamics, inequalities and marginalized actors in the global South.
CBS Sustainability + Centre for Business & Development Studies
The purpose of SGG is to nurture Sustainability Governance knowledge. This is accomplished principally by developing and supporting research, publication and dissemination focused on the governance of sustainability in a variety of global contexts. These activities may extend to sustainability education, fundraising, as well as outreach and engagement with policy and practice. Areas of expertise span a broad range of fields, yet SGG’s shared interests lie at the intersection of the economic with the social and/or environmental. Particular strengths include governance and sustainability as related to global value chains, corporate social responsibility (CSR), development, public and private regulation, human rights, power and justice, international business and the SDGs. Within these topics, research explores different approaches to governance; tensions and trade-offs; impacts, both intended and unintended; differing perspectives and viewpoints; and multi-level impacts (micro-meso-macro) of governance and their interactions.
Contact: Sarah Castaldi
M U L T I - S T A K E H O L D E R I N I T I A T I V E S I N T H E C O T T O N V A L U E C H A I N S O F S O U T H A S I A
The overall objective of this research project is to analyze (i) how multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSI) for sustainable cotton production are formulated, implemented, and monitored in the cotton value chains of South Asia; and (ii) whether the processes through which MSIs are institutionalized in South Asia make any difference to the income, work, and environmental conditions of cotton farmers and on-farm workers in this region. These objectives will be achieved through the development of a theoretical framework that analyzes the processes through which sustainable cotton MSIs emerge, how they are institutionalized in different institutional contexts in the developing world, and how a variety of global forces (MSIs in global value chains (GVCs)) and local forces (national institutional contexts, local industrialization strategies, and the agency of workers/farmers) co-determine cotton producers’/on-farm workers’ income, work, and environmental conditions in developing countries. The framework is then applied to a comparative study of the evolution of the world’s largest sustainable cotton MSI – the Better Cotton Initiative - and its effects in South Asia (India and Pakistan).
Contact: Peter Lund-Thomsen
N E W P A R T N E R S H I P S F O R S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y ( N E P S U S )
S U S T E I N
T H E R E G U L A T I O N O F I N T E R N A T I O N A L S U P P L Y C H A I N S ( R I S C )
RISC has three objectives: it will 1) identify attributes of effective governance of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) – and social sustainability more widely – in the Bangladesh (BD) ready-made garment (RMG) industry; 2) provide new academic and practical knowledge on the governance of social sustainability in international supply chains; and 3) contribute to local capacity-building and solutions for OHS and social sustainability in BD.
R S P O A N D N U D G E
This research is conducted as a collaboration between the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Copenhagen Business School. The aim is to study the potential for behavioral economic interventions along the sustainable palm oil value chain, more popularly known as “nudging.” This research will, first, identify points in the value chain where cognitive biases impede the uptake of the standard and, second, develop plans for the use of randomized controlled trials to test the effects of nudges on uptake.
T H E H I D D E N C O S T O F G L O B A L S U P P L Y C H A I N S
P O W E R A N D I N E Q U A L I T Y I N G L O B A L P R O D U C T I O N S Y S T E M S ( P I P S )
Global inequalities are growing and have become widely recognized as major challenges. A main driver of inequality has been the globalization of production which yielded new winners and losers within and across nations. Massive participation of global South actors in value chains and production networks has not led to a significant increase in value-added within these countries, despite expectations of the contrary. As inequality in the distribution of value added between actors in the global South and in the global North persists, new efforts have been directed in understanding how to reduce these inequalities. PIPS contributes new knowledge on about how value chain actors exercise power and what kinds and combinations of power they yield. Existing research has focused on identifying bargaining power asymmetries without examining how other forms of power may underpin, challenge or undermine bargaining power across value chains and in time. PIPS applies and further develops a new theory of power in global value chains to address these limitations.
How do different combinations of power shape the functioning of global value chains in time? When and in what circumstances do these combinations yield increasing or decreasing inequalities along global production systems? What policies and interventions can be learned in view of taming existing inequalities?
Empirically, PIPS analyzes two global value chains within the agro-food sector: Chile and South Africa. These two countries have similar production conditions but divergent outcomes. In both countries, international trade plays an important role, and the agro-food sector contributes to important diversification venues away from overdependence on extractive industries. Their climatic conditions (Central region in Chile, Western Cape region in South Africa) and portfolio of agricultural products is similar, making them competitors for a range of processed and fresh products. Yet, their trajectories in seeking to improve domestic value addition have been widely divergent, with Chile succeeding and South Africa failing.
PIPS examines power dynamics in these value chains over time, focusing on two out of their top three agro-food export industries: table grapes and wine. In the table grapes value chain, the two countries provide a relatively uniform counter-seasonal fresh product to retailers in the global North, with quality playing a relatively less important role in power relations along the value chain. In wine, the two countries provide a large quality portfolio of a processed product, with quality differentials playing a key role in power relations. This comparison allows for an examination of how different forms of power affect bargaining power over time, and thus how they affect inequality in the distribution of value added along the two chains.
PI: Stefano Ponte email@example.com
Funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark
The Knowledge and Global Development group (KGD) is a research cluster focused on critical approaches to the business of development and business activities in a developmental context. Our members study the myriad future(s) of development – social, political, environmental and economic - in the face of global challenges. Our work analyzes the interplay of knowledge and development in diverse contexts, across and between the Global South and Global North. The cluster meets monthly, and hosts research seminars that are open to all on a quarterly basis.
Contact: Maha Rafi Atal
C O M M O D I F Y I N G C O M P A S S I O N ( C O C O )
Commodifying Compassion seeks to understand how ‘helping’ has become a marketable commodity and how this impacts humanitarianism symbolically and materially. An international team of researchers funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research will examine ethical consumption intended to benefit humanitarian causes from the perspectives of consumers, businesses, NGOs and recipients.
E V E R Y D A Y H U M A N I T A R I A N I S M I N T A N Z A N I A
The project will measure and explain the everyday humanitarian practices of communities engaged most directly with protracted crisis (refugees) and others experiencing acute crises (earthquake, floods). EveryHumanTZ’s Overall Objective is to understand how people interacting in everyday situations respond to crisis situations outside of the formal structures of humanitarian assistance.
C O R P O R A T E E N G A G E M E N T I N H U M A N I T A R I A N A C T I O N
This project different dimensions of corporate engagement for delivering humanitarian action. In particular, it aims at identifying challenges associated with getting corporations to engage in humanitarian action; challenges associated with ensuring effective corporate engagement; and challenges associated with ensuring ethical engagement.
The Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation for Development (EMID) group studies firms’ role in sustainable development in the Global South. The EMID explores firms’ (local and foreign) practices and emerging strategies in seeking opportunities to overcome local and global challenges.
Contact: Jacobo Ramirez
M I N D S C I E N C E I N S O C I E T Y O F I N N O V A T I O N
This project endeavors to focus on the discovery of how to use experience based co-created innovation for engaging with future markets. To address this objective we have initiated a project on co-creating experience based innovation and created a network around Europe and the world, with several planned activities. You can learn more about the project on its website here.
Contact: Sudhanshu Rai
T H E I N D I A N S P A C E R E S E A R C H ( I S R O ) I N N O V A T I O N S T O R Y , T H E M A R S P R O G R A M
The overall objective and relevance of this research is that low cost innovation is not enough to sustain long term innovation if it is not coupled with high quality and high impact innovation. We will use frugal innovation literature and its manifestations as the scaffolding within which we conduct our investigation of high quality, high impact low cost (HQ-HI-LC) innovations in India. We conjecture that ISRO’s MOM program has shown the way how to engage with HQ-HI-LC innovation; a term we have coined for the purposes of our argumentation.
Contact: Sudhanshu Rai
T H E N A T U R E O F I N D I A N I N N O V A T I O N: A L O O K A T N O N - I N D U S T R I A L P R O D U C T I O N S Y S T E M S
This project is about exploring the nature of Indian innovation. "The nature" implies the mental ability of non-industrial creators of products that rely on their experience. This is usually training which has been handed down from generations to address the current needs in a manner that supports their growth of their creation. The endeavor is to study 15 non-industrial production systems across India to ascertain the nature of Indian innovation. The researchers in the first leg have studied the diamond cutting and polishing industry which is skill based and is an art handed over and honed over generations. While this kind of art has been recently organized into industrial production systems, the skill and art remains a kind of fluid knowledge which needs to be practiced to be learnt. Similarly such kind of non-industrial production system will be under review across India. This in short is the nature of Indian innovation project.
Contact: Sudhanshu Rai
W O M E N E N T R E P R E N E U R S H I P I N T H E B A M B O O V A L U E C H A I N O F S O U T H A S I A
This project is a three-year in-depth-study of womens' entrepreneurship in the bamboo value chains of India in the states of Assam, Odisha, Meghalya, and Madhya Pradesh. Involved researchers include Peter-Lund Thomsen, Søren Jeppesen and Uzma Rehman as well as Lauren McCarthy, Royal Holloway, London in addition to our Indian colleagues Sukhpal Singh, Shikha Bhattacharjee and Falak Jalali. The study examines the reasons why and the processes through which women become micro-entrepreneurs at the base of the bamboo value chains in India. The study is part of a collaborative initiative with the Foundation for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in New Delhi that seeks to promote the production of sustainable bamboo in India. The project is funded by the EU-Switch Asia program.