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Personal profile


Dr David Bek is a Reader in Sustainable Economies based at the Research Centre for Business in Society at Coventry University (UK), where he co-leads the Sustainable Production and Consumption Cluster. David has extensive experience undertaking research into sustainability within horticultural supply chains, especially cut flowers. He has worked alongside organisations in the fruit, wine and flower sectors in South Africa, to develop training courses and monitoring and evaluation tools to promote enhanced sustainability in practice. David is especially interested in developing an evidence base to demonstrate how innovations within sustainability practice can lead to improvements in businesses’ resilience, productivity and profitability. He is also engaged with projects which seek to shift the focus of standards and certifications away from audit-dependency towards an approach based upon continuous improvement. Furthermore, he is involved in projects which investigates the legacy of mega sporting and cultural events.

David 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. 



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 Dive into the research topics where David Bek is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

wine Social Sciences
moral philosophy Social Sciences
apartheid Social Sciences
stakeholder Earth & Environmental Sciences
market Earth & Environmental Sciences
conservation Social Sciences
ethics Earth & Environmental Sciences
Namibia Social Sciences

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

Projects 2019 2022

Research Output 2004 2019

Conservation in the context of wildflower harvesting: the development and implementation of a Vulnerability Index on the Agulhas Plain of South Africa

Privett, S., Bek, D., Bailey, R., Binns, T., Rainmondo, D., Kirkwood, D. & Euston-Brown, D., 18 Nov 2019, In : Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. (In-press), p. (In-press)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Climate change
research method

Tackling the Plastics Crisis: Back to the 3Rs

Bek, D. & Tjahjono, B., 2019, Coventry University.

Research output: Other contribution

Valentine's Day: Five ways to ensure your flowers are ethical

Timms, J. & Bek, D., 12 Feb 2019

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchWeb publication/site

Open Access

Activities 2011 2019

  • 25 Participation in conference
  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
  • 1 Invited talk

The Future of Plastics in the Retail Supply Chain

David Bek (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Development Studies Association Annual Conference 2019

David Bek (Speaker), Jill Timms (Speaker)
19 Jun 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Development Studies Association Annual Conference 2019

David Bek (Speaker), Jill Timms (Speaker)
19 Jun 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

BSA Annual Conference 2019: Challenging Social Hierarchies and Inequalities

David Bek (Speaker), Jill Timms (Speaker)
24 Apr 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Development Studies Association SIG Business and Development Winter Workshop

David Bek (Speaker), Jill Timms (Speaker), Alessandro Merendino (Speaker), Kamilla Swart (Speaker)
12 Dec 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Best Paper Award

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

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)