Global value chains in Brazil and the Netherlands

Governance of Labour and Logistics for Sustainability

What is Governance of Labour and Logistics for Sustainability?

The objective of the Governance of Labour and Logistics for Sustainability (GOLLS) project is to promote labour rights and human security along and within global value chains linking Brazil and Holland. Sustainability (social and environmental) is central to this focus.

The project is set against the debate about whether and how the 'logic' of labour and communities (often in the Global South) involved in production can be conciliated with the 'logic' of chain drivers (often in the Global North). Are there mutual gains to chain drivers and to source communities and labour? Moreover, how do we evaluate gains - what lenses do we use?

It is a framework for systematic enquiry into the nature of value chain governance and its social impacts and thus has considerable policy significance for Government and social actors. As a research theme it does, however, allow for considerable latitude in focus and methodological orientation within individuals’ specific studies.

Sorting acai - Brazil - Governance of Labour and Logistics for Sustainability

Research relevance and outputs

In these years the project analyzed chain processes and impacts using case studies of products moving from Brazilian source locations, from Brazilian ports and on to Rotterdam, such as in the chain of orange juice, açaí and cacao, but also investigated general trends and influences of the impact of chains in local communities in Brazil and governance related challenges in different nodes of value chains.

The cooperation between ISS and Brazilian institutions resulted in the exchange of 14 visiting researchers and PhD students coming from different regions (8 Brazilian institutions involved) in Brazil to pursue part of their research at ISS from 2013 to 2017 with the financial support of CAPES/NUFFIC. In 2017, in partnership with Brazilian university FGV, GOLLS researchers organized a workshop involving participants from Brazil and the Netherlands. This rich interaction resulted in the idea for a book, which is currently in process of publication.

The first phase of the project was concluded in December 2018, but a new phase has been approved for the following two years, renamed as GOLLS-Brazil Plan. The upcoming challenges go beyond the products that have already been analyzed and build on the created knowledge to expand the investigations towards local level inclusion processes, chain wide narratives and analyses of global actors.

Picking oranges - Brazil - Governance of Labour and Logistics for Sustainability

GOLLS- Brazil Plan

In this phase (2019-20), sustainability remains a question and a target, being as it is both a limiting ecological end point and a social process involving individuals, families, communities and societies. This social/ecological perspective provides a backdrop to all of the sub studies in this phase, and models of social responsibility for labour/well-being are becoming progressively more problematized. At the same time, geography of space and place, the boundaries for agency and well-being, are being more critically explored.

In summary, GOLLS remains as a home at ISS for researchers and students interested in similar topics by promoting a creative and interactive environment open to a sustained exchange of ideas.  

Orange and acai production in Brazil

Who is GOLLS?

The project is part of the Civic Innovation research group at ISS-Erasmus, and is coordinated by Dr Lee Pegler, whose network and more than two decades of work experience with labour and developmental issues and actors in Brazil resulted in the development of this research project.

The first phase of the project received support from ISS Innovation Fund (2012) and from CAPES-Nuffic, via a partnership with FGV-Sao Paulo.

ISS Master students interested in similar topics are welcome to write their research papers with GOLLS and may receive partial funds for fieldwork. PhD researchers are also welcome to the exchange of ideas and possible cooperation projects

Project Publications

Here are some of project publications by Dr Pegler.

Pegler, L.; Superti, E. & Vasconelas, M.M.V. (2018) The Governance of Emerging Value Chains and their Impacts on Traditional Communities. Revista Brasileira de Gestão e Desenvolvimento Regional, 14 (4); International Journal of Humanities and Social Science; 8, pp24-35.

Pegler, L. (2017) Cadeias Globais De Valor (GVCs) e Desafios da Sustentabilidade - conceitos e a prática comparado. UESC, Bahia, Brazil, Keynote presentation - Jornada de Saberes Sobre o Cacao.

Pegler, L. (2017) Working in Chains? Reflections on 'The Governance of Labour and Logistics for (Social) Sustainability' in Global Production. Conference Presentation on Global Production (CGP). Singapore

GOLLS PROJECT (2016) – Brazil and the Netherlands, where art meets Science: our relation from a social science perspective – Public Event, ISS-EUR, Den Haag, 15/9/2016

Pegler, L. (2016) – “Working in “Chains”? Human Security in Global Production Networks (Brazil and Netherlands)”, Invited Seminar Address, CEDLA Public Seminar Series, Amsterdam/UVA, 19/2/16

Pegler, L. & Marques, W. (2016) “Civic Innovation by family farmers in the face of global value chain inclusion: between material conditions and imagined futures” in K Biekart, K.; Harcourt, W. & Knorringa, P. (Eds) Exploring Civic Innovation for Social and Economic Transformation. Routledge (Routledge Studies in Development Economics)

Pegler, L. (2015) ‘Human Security in Evolving Global Value Chains (GVC’s) ­ reconsidering labour agency in a livelihoods context ‘in Newsome, K.; Taylor, P.; Blair, J. & Rainnie, A. (Eds),  Putting Labour in its Place: Labour Process Analysis and Global Value Chains, London: Palgrave (CPWE ­ - Critical Perspectives on Work and Employment Series).

Pegler, L. (2015) Peasant Inclusion in Global Value Chains: Economic Upgrading but Social Downgrading in Labour Processes? Journal of Peasant Studies. Nov, 42/5-6, 929-957

Pegler L. (2015) Cadeias de valor sustentáveis e trabalho: dos conceitos à prática, Revista Pos Ciencias Socias,(online), 12/ (24), 167-204

Pegler L. (2014) Sustainable Value Chains and Labour/GOLLS Project, Opening of Academic Year, UFMA Post Graduate Programme. Presentation.

Pegler, L; Jacobs, W., Reis, M.A.S. & Pereira, H.D.S. (2013) “Transporte, fluxo de mercadoria e o desenvolvimento econômico urbano na Amazônia: o caso de Belém e Manaus”, Cadernos Metrópole v. 15, n. 30, 2º semestre de 2013.

Pegler, L. (2013) Açaí, Livelihoods and Social Inclusion in GVCs, International Labour Conference, Rutgers, NJ, NU, USA; Conference Presentation.

Pegler, L; Jacobs, W., Reis, M. & Pereira, H. (2013) Amazon Shipping, Commodity Flows and Urban Economic Development: The Case of Belém and Manaus. In P. Hall & M. Hesse (Eds.), Cities, Regions and Flows (Routledge Studies in Human Geography). Routledge

Further Information

Email address
+31 (0) 704260590