Governance and greening global agro-food chains: Cases from Vietnam, Thailand and Benin: Peter Oosterveer, Pham Van Hoi and Laurent C. Glin
Contemporary agro-food provision is widely recognized as imposing a profound environmental burden. Reducing this is essential to secure the future of the environment and of farming itself, but any changes will have to be made in the context of a dynamic, globalizing system (Oosterveer 2007). This chapter assesses environmental change in globalizing agro-food chains involving developing countries. Though several conceptual frameworks could support such an analysis, the global value chain model (Gereffi et al. 2005) and the business systems approach (Whitley 1998) seem particularly promising. These frameworks differ in several respects. In particular, they vary in the relative importance they give to chain actors and to national institutions making their comparison interesting. Therefore, in this chapter, we apply these conceptual frameworks in analysing ‘greening’ within three global agro-food supply chains. The selected cases – vegetable production in Vietnam, shrimp farming in Thailand and organic cotton growing in Benin – illustrate the complexity and divergence of environmental transitions in agro-food. In the concluding section, we reflect on the results of the analysis and discuss mechanisms that might contribute to the urgently needed greening of agro-food chains.