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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.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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