Tea plantation in Limuru; one of SUSTEINs fieldsites

Associate Professor Martin Skrydstrup, MSC, has initiated his research project ‘Sustainability's Infrastructure: A novel ethnographic approach to the global value chain of certified tea’ (SUSTEIN).


Postdoc Hannah Elliott and Assistant Professor Matthew Archer are also part of the project team.

Martin Skrydstrup

Martin Skrydstrup introduces the project:
SUSTEIN (SUStainable TEa INfrastructures) focuses on localized translations of transnational sustainability standards in Kenya, United Arab Emirates and corporate headquarters in Europe to advance our understanding of the global value chain of certified tea. The theoretical objective is to venture beyond the notion of global value chain by way of deploying the novel concept of infrastructure. We assume that this lead concept will allow us to better comprehend the recursive loops and contingent causes and effects in global supply chains/global infrastructures.

SUSTEIN consists of three subprojects, which each addresses a core question posed by the project:

A) How does certification shape agrarian production in the form of cultivation and factory processing? Who benefits from which sustainability standards?

B) How does certification influence the valuation of tea, assessed in terms of taste, grade and price? How is the value of certification performed and capitalized?

C) How do corporate professionals and independent auditors distinguish between "sustainable/unsustainable"? What lines of evidence are recognized?


The SUSTEIN project team will be collaborating closely with researchers at cbsCSR as well as at the Centre for Business and Development Studies both of which are located at MSC.


The grant
SUSTEIN is made possible by a Sapere Aude (meaning “dare to know”) Starting Grant, awarded by the Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF). The Sapere Aude program “is aimed at younger, very talented researchers, who at the time of the application deadline and within the last eight years have obtained their PhD”. The Sapere Aude program targets “top researchers who intend to gather a group of researchers, in order to carry out a research project at a high, international level.”


The SUSTEIN project runs from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2020.


Find out more about the project on the BOS Blog and on the project website (under construction).

For further information about the project, please contact Martin Skrydstrup,


The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 11/16/2018