Overheating seminar: Ethical concerns in global investment chains: Are more equitable outcomes possible?
Research fellow, University of Cologne's Global South Studies Center and a research associate of the University of Pretoria’s Human Economy Programme
Tijo Salverda (Photo: University of Pretoria)
Global investment chains (and/or commodity and value chains) link a large variety of ‘nodes’, or points of contact, with specific institutional, occupational, and/or geographic characteristics around the world together. In my case these range from Western investors in agricultural assets, i.e. land, commodities and/or agribusinesses, to national African state institutions, the actual investment sites (in African countries), and international regulators and NGOs.
Due to the impact on society more widely, in particular on the poorest populations of the world (in Africa especially), investments in agricultural assets take place within morally and politically contentious fields. Accordingly, investors and/or multinationals, such as pension funds, private equity and the food and beverage industry, are under increasing pressure to minimise the negative impact of their practices. As the most powerful ‘node’ in the chain, the belief is that they have the power to shape more equitable outcomes. By means of studying interactions and power between the nodes, this research intends to investigate to what extent they are actually in full control. This, hopefully, will contribute to a better understanding of global connections and of the potential to distribute the benefits more equally.