Can your smartphone be "fair"?
The paper “Social upgrading and cooperative corporate social responsibility in global value chains: the case of Fairphone in China” has been published in the journal Global Networks.
In this article, we explore how a lead firm’s strategy for corporate social responsibility influences the social upgrading of a supplier in a global value chain. Based on a single case study approach, we investigate the interaction between Dutch smartphone producer Fairphone and its Chinese supplier Guohong. On the one hand, the case illustrates how a cooperative approach to corporate social responsibility can lead to progress in suppliers’ social upgrading. In particular, we highlight the role of a so-called workers’ welfare fund as a mechanism not only for improving measurable labour standards but also for enabling rights. On the other hand, the case demonstrates how the limited production and technological capabilities of the suppliers, a competitive market environment and lead firms’ limited strategic access to the supply chain might constrain the extent of social upgrading through a cooperative approach towards corporate social responsibility in a global value chain.
The article is authored by EGB members, Björn Jindra and Faith Hatani with Thomas Steger and Johannes Hiemer.
It is Open Access and can be accessed via the link above.