Keyword: Environmental upgrading


Environmental Upgrading in Global Value Chains: The Potential and Limitations of Ports in the Greening of Maritime Transport

Poulsen, René Taudal; Ponte, Stefano; Sornn-Friese, Henrik

Ports are crucial hubs in the functioning of the global economy, and maritime transport is a major emitter of air pollutants. Ports have considerable potential for promoting environmental upgrading in maritime transport and along global value chains more generally, but so far have been only partially successful in doing so. We examine results, limitations and future potential of voluntary initiatives that have been carried out by selected European and North American port authorities, which are considered frontrunners in environmental management. Drawing from the insights of global value chain analysis and organizational theory, we find that low ‘tool implementation complexity’ and high ‘issue visibility’ concerning emissions are key facilitators of environmental upgrading. We suggest that ports can intervene in two main ways to improve the environmental performance of maritime transport beyond their organizational and physical boundaries: by lowering tool implementation complexity through stronger collaboration within global value chains; and by enhancing emission visibility through alliances with cargo-owners and regulators.

Geoforum, Volume 89 / 2018
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Buyer-driven Greening? Cargo-Owners and Environmental Upgrading in Maritime Shipping

Poulsen, René Taudal; Ponte, Stefano; Lister, Jane

In this article, we examine the relations between global value chain governance and environmental upgrading in maritime shipping. Drawing from interviews with global shipping companies and major buyers of shipping services (cargo-owners), we reveal the key issues and challenges faced in improving the environmental performance of maritime transportation. Contributing to the Global Value Chain (GVC) literature, we compare and analyze the influence of three main external drivers on environmental upgrading in the tanker, bulk and container shipping segments: regulation, cooperation and buyer demands. Our findings suggest that environmental upgrading is more likely to occur when global value chains are characterized by unipolar governance and where the lead firms are consumer-facing companies with reputational risks. Furthermore, environmental upgrading in shipping is not likely to materialize without clear and enforceable global regulation and stronger alignment between regulation and voluntary sustainability initiatives.

Geoforum, Volume 68 / 2016
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