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This paper investigates the strategies export-oriented agricultural firms use to mitigate water risks. By doing so, we respond to a gap in Global Production Network (GPN) scholarship, whereby the relationships between economic production and the natural environment have received insufficient attention. We build on GPN 2.0′s formulation of environmental risk as a causal driver of firms’ strategies, combining it with the concept of water stewardship. Empirical evidence is drawn from the export-oriented fruit industry in South Africa’s Western Cape. We find that while current water risk mitigating strategies are successful in securing water for fruit producers, these also have negative impacts on the wider South African water governance regime by depoliticising water allocation. In post-apartheid South Africa, this is deeply problematic. Our findings emphasise the imperative for research to consider the wider socio-political and ecological context when evaluating firm strategies to mitigate water and other environmental risks in South Africa and beyond.
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Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.
This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.
FunderWe are grateful for Coventry University’s support for this research.
- Global Production Networks
- Water Risks: Horticulture
- Western Cape
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
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- 1 Finished
Better Work, Better Businesses: Making the Case for Ethical Trade in the South African Fruit Industry
1/01/16 → 31/12/16
Project: Internally funded project