Global standards, global governance and the organization of global value chains

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Compliance with international standards is now a sine qua non for entry into globalized production networks. Developing country firms and farms are confronted by an array of distinct product and process standards that they must meet. This has heightened the competitive challenges they face. Non-compliance can result in exclusion from profitable markets. This article uses the recent case of Nike's termination of sourcing of soccer balls from its lead supplier in Pakistan as a lens to analyse the relationship between standards and governance. The article addresses first the global governance implications associated with how standards are being shaped and implemented. Second, it considers how global standards affect the governance of value chain ties. Finally, in terms of questions for further research, it suggests the need to explore the relationship between standards and 'intra-firm' governance, in particular to assess outcomes for those engaged within the chains-namely local firms and their workers, and the social contexts in which global standards are imposed from the outside. © The Author (2008). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-343
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Child labour
  • Global value chains
  • Governance
  • International standards
  • Labour standards
  • Pakistan

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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