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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Christopher R. Whynacht

Christopher R WhynachtChristopher R. Whynacht
University of Massachusetts Boston

The Ecological Embeddedness Of Global Production Networks: Salmon Aquaculture And Palm Oil.

Research into global production networks (GPNs) frequently focuses on the interactions and relationships among actors in the production process.  Recently there have been efforts to evolve the conceptualization of GPNs to better manage environmental risks, address sustainability, and adapt to climate change.  This paper introduces the concept of ecological embeddedness to provide nuance around the issue of environmental management.  Conceptually, this better links GPNs with research on sustainable supply chain management, life-cycle assessment, and ecosystem services.  Many production networks use biological inputs which depend on the provision of ecosystem services, these serve to anchor the upstream end of numerous GPNs.  To provide examples of how these GPNs are ecologically embedded two specific cases are examined, palm oil and salmon aquaculture.  Primary and secondary product dimensions are amalgamated into a framework which is then used to determine degrees of embeddedness.  Finally, propositions and implications for future research are discussed.