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Leveraging participation in apparel global supply chains through green industrialization strategies: Implications for low-income countries
Ecological Economics  (IF5.389),  Pub Date : 2022-01-21, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107331
Federico Jensen, Lindsay Whitfield

The global apparel industry has been a gateway to industrialization, but changes in the global economy have eroded the benefits from participating in apparel global supply chains, leading to thin industrialization in low-income countries where suppliers firms are squeezed between low prices and high requirements. More recently, buyers added improved environmental performance as a new requirement for their suppliers, seeking to avoid brand risks in their supply chains due to consumer awareness. This environmental upgrading focused on eco-efficiency gains, which increased productivity among suppliers while using fewer resources, but buyers captured most of the benefits in terms of maintaining low prices due to market power imbalances. This article aims to shift the debate on the limits of participating in global supply chains by conceptualizing the opportunities available to late industrializing countries from embedding the environmental upgrading of individual supplier firms within a broader green industrialization process, which offers more opportunities for value capture and inter-industry linkages through circular industrial economies. We use this conceptual approach to examine the newest apparel sourcing location, Ethiopia, and the government's green industrial policy that aimed to spur industrialization through apparel specific eco-industrial parks.