Til bevillingsoversigt

Clothing From Ethiopia: How Civil Society Initiatives Can Contribute To Sustainable Industry Development in Institutional Void Countries

Carlsbergfondets postdoc-stipendier i Danmark

What

This project investigates how civil society organization (CSO)-led projects, as opposed to business-led (e.g. Bangladesh Accord) or multi-stakeholder initiatives (e.g. Ethical Trading Initiative), can enhance the social sustainable development of clothing suppliers in Ethiopia. As a novel form of supply chain governance, the role and impact of such initiatives is still unknown. Although CSOs can improve social sustainability in clothing supply chains by undertaking initiatives that go beyond the scope and responsibility of 'for-profit' supply chain members, it appears that the impact of CSO projects in Ethiopia, dubbed as the next clothing hub, often remains unclear not least because of the challenge to effectively navigate in Ethiopia's weak and politically contested country environment.

Why

The current trend in the clothing industry is to source from Ethiopia, a context where the industry is nascent but emerging, and embedded in weak and politically contested institutions. Given the persistence of scandals in the clothing industry, academics and policy makers have called for more CSO involvement in supply chains to understand and cope with such challenges more successfully. This project is particularly important to Denmark, since the Danish government committed itself to supporting Ethiopia's ambition of becoming a lower middle-income economy by 2025 (i.e., GTP II), a goal defined by the local government, which also identifies economic and social upgrading of the clothing industry as one of the priority areas to help achieving such status.

How

Using a mixed method design combing a deep case study and survey methodology, this project sheds light on the role and impact of CSO-led initiatives. Specifically, I will investigate the role of Solidaridad, a Dutch CSO, which aims to build up sustainable and inclusive clothing supply chains in Ethiopia. Solidaridad's Better Mill Initiative (BMI), a CSO-led initiative in the Ethiopian clothing sector, is currently at mid-term (2016-2020), and focuses mainly on building local capacities at and transferring market knowledge to first-tier clothing suppliers. Solidaridad will facilitate data access to local stakeholder groups in Ethiopia, as well as knowledge dissemination among a wider - practitioner-oriented - network.

SSR

This research addresses 'grand challenges' such as the violation of human rights and basic labor conditions as informed by the informed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It focuses on those people most affected by human and labor rights abuses in a firm's supply chain, who often do not have realistic opportunities to call attention to these problems themselves, or secure a remedy. Specifically, this projects aims to explore whether and how CSOs, as 'non-traditional'supply chain members, can help to protect and promote human and labor rights in local clothing factories, and - more generally - contribute to overall economic and social upgrading in Ethiopia.