The greening of global value chains: Insights from the furniture industry

Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria, Stefano Ponte

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


With increasing fragmentation of production between independent firms that are spatially dispersed and are responsible for different steps of the production process, a Global Value Chain approach is employed to examine how 'lead firms' shape the green features of upstream activities. Comparative case studies in the Italian furniture industry (Ikea, Valcucine) are used to show that lead firms implement 'hands-on' governing mechanisms to improve the environmental performance of their value chain partners - moving away from the market but still avoiding vertical integration - but also 'hands-off' mechanisms embedded in standards and design. Two governing approaches to the greening of value chains are identified: standarddriven and mentoring-driven, and these are used to provide some reflections on when we are likely to observe one or the other, and also to develop a future research agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-318
Number of pages20
JournalCompetition and Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental sustainability
  • Furniture industry
  • Global value chain
  • Governance
  • Ikea
  • Italy
  • Valcucine


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