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    Personal profile


    David Bek is based at the Research Centre for Creative Economies (CCE) at Coventry University (UK), where he leads the Creative Economies and Ecological Sustainability theme. David’s research interrogates questions about the relationship between different types of economic activity and environmental sustainability in the context of the Anthropocene. He is especially interested in forms of value chain analysis which illuminate how power is exercised at different geographic scales and with what impacts upon developmental and ecological outcomes.

    David currently explores these themes by undertaking empirical research within horticultural supply chains, especially cut-flowers. He is co-lead of the internationally influential Sustainable Cut-flowers Project which focuses upon the diverse cultures and geographies of flower production and consumption with a view to promoting more socially and ecologically sustainable practices. This project is an impactful example of transdisciplinary research created in partnership with a range of academic and practitioner stakeholders. David is frequently invited to speak to the media and industry associations in order to share his perspectives on pathways to sustainability within the cut-flower sector and the horticultural industry more broadly.

    He has led a variety of research and evaluation projects including: investigating the Thai edible insects export sector; environmental outcomes from Coventry City of Culture 2021; community food initiatives in the UK Midlands during the Covid-19 pandemic; sustainability and resilience in South African horticulture; economic, social and environmental upgrading in the Cape flora sector (South Africa); the resilience of the cut-flower sector during Covid-19; assurance strategies in the international wild foliage harvesting industry and the socio-economic impacts of environmental transitions in the growing media industry.

    David joined Coventry University’s Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) in 2015 where co-led the Sustainable Production and Consumption Cluster and was promoted to a Professorship in 2023. Previously David was employed as a researcher at Cambridge, Newcastle and Durham Universities where he developed his interests in ethical trade, agri-commodity value chains and environmental sustainability through projects such as the Leverhulme Trust funded ‘Ethical production in South Africa: Advancing a cultural economy approach’. Beyond academia, David has experience of working in a range of institutional settings including local government, private consultancy and small business. Such diverse experiences have enabled him to develop broad ranging networks and inherent understandings of the dynamics of multi-stakeholder environments. His research is global in scope and David has experience of undertaking research in a number of countries including: South Africa, Holland, Mexico, Spain, Ireland and the USA.

    Research Interests

    Value chain governance; environment and development; sustainability; transciplinary methods

    Vision Statement

    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:

    • 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 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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