• 228 Citations
  • 9 h-Index
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Personal profile


David is a Research Fellow within the Centre for Business in Society and is co-leader of the Sustainable Production and Consumption cluster. He has experience of working in a range of institutional settings including local government, private consultancy, small business and university Geography Departments and Business Schools. Such diverse experiences have enabled him to develop broad ranging networks and inherent understandings of the dynamics of multi-stakeholder environments. His research experience includes undertaking work on social capital formation via Multi-National Corporation CSR programmes, analysing the dynamics of local labour markets and market town regeneration in East Anglia and evaluating social empowerment initiatives in the South African wine industry. More recently David has worked on projects which have deployed a cultural-economy approach to enable understanding of the dynamics of ethical trade within commodity supply chains emanating from South Africa. He has also undertaken consultancy work for the South African fruit industry and WWF-South Africa, for whom he has evaluated ethical trade and biodiversity conservation programmes. 

David is currently engaged with projects focusing upon the global cut-flower industry, with a specific focus upon the Cape Flora industry in South Africa. This work examines the ethical and sustainability impacts of flower production. He is also develping work which investigates ethical and sustainability initiatives, particularly with a view to demonstrating the business case for engagement. David is also contributing to the CARNiVAL project which focuses upon the legacy impacts of mega-events such as the Olympics.


Research Interests

Ethical Trade; Sustainability; Local economic development; Corporate social responsibility

Vision Statement

Untangling the complex inter-relationships between business and society is a central theme of my research. I have been involved in a variety of projects in the last decade which have explored this theme through the lenses of corporate social responsibility, sustainability, local economic development and ethical trade. My vision is to generate impactful research which contributes to the implementation of genuinely sustainable practices within economy and society.

My current research priorities include:

  • Identifying the ‘business case’ for implementing sustainable and ethical business practices within supply chains.
  • Evaluating processes of social, economic and environmental upgrading within Global Production Networks, specifically within the horticultural sector.

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

wine Social Sciences
stakeholder Earth & Environmental Sciences
ethics Earth & Environmental Sciences
industry Social Sciences
economics Earth & Environmental Sciences
conservation Social Sciences
apartheid Earth & Environmental Sciences
biodiversity Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2004 2018

Can the New Era of Retailer-Led Certification Schemes Shift the Sustainability Dial?

Despoudi, S., Lanari, N. & Bek, D. 2018

Research output: ResearchOther contribution

The Circular Economy: The Circular Economy a key approach for addressing strategic challenges in supply chains

Bek, D. & Lim, M. 5 Mar 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Social Business. (In-Press), p. (In-Press)

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Supply chain
Financial performance


Merendino, A., Bek, D. & Timms, J. 2017 Mega events footprints: past, present and future. Maturana-dos-Santos, L. J. (ed.). Rio de Janeiro: Engenho, p. 1008-1025

Research output: Research - peer-reviewChapter

Open Access
Olympic Games
corporate governance

Fairtrade, place and moral economy: between abstract ethical discourse and the moral experience of Northern Cape farmers

McEwan, C., Hughes, A. & Bek, D. 2017 In : Environment and Planning A. 49, 3, p. 572-591 20 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access
cultural relations

Jobs, water or conservation? Deconstructing the Green Economy in South Africa’s Working for Water Programme

Bek, D., Nel, E. & Binns, T. 11 Jul 2017 In : Environmental Development . (in press), p. (in press)

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access

Activities 2014 2016

  • 3 Participation in conference

RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2016

Bek, D. (Speaker), Tony Binns (Speaker), Etienne Nel (Speaker)
Aug 2016

Activity: Participation in conference

ISDRS, Lisbon

Bek, D. (Speaker)
Jul 2016

Activity: Participation in conference

RGS/IBG Annual Conference 2014

Bek, D. (Speaker), Tony Binns (Speaker)

Activity: Participation in conference


Best Paper Award

Alessandro Merendino (Recipient), Jill Timms (Recipient) & David Bek (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)