Global partnerships for a textile transformation? A systematic literature review on inter- and transnational collaborative governance of the textile and clothing industry

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, partnerships between actors from different sectors andcountries have been joining forces to tackle major sustainability challenges. Within the textile andclothing industry, inter-organizational networks and governance partnerships have worked to addresslabor rights violations and environmentally harmful modes of production. Although research on thesenetworks and partnerships has been increasing, it has remained heterogeneous. It derives from manydifferent disciplines and research communities, leaving behind an opaquefield of literature. This articleprovides a critical overview and a comprehensive understanding of research on inter-organizationalnetworks and governance partnerships of the textile and clothing industry through a systematic liter-ature review. It analyzes 301 academic peer-reviewed articles published between 1992 and 2018. It usesquantitative full-text bibliometric word analysis, followed by coding around the meta-framework ofmodes of governance, which provides an integrative framework for thisfield of study. Firstly, thisanalysis revealed four discourses referred to as Economic and Industrial Development, Ecology andEnvironment, Private Labor Governance and Workers’Rights, and Critical Ethnographies. Secondly, thesefour discourses were found to differ in their thematic sustainability challenges as well as in their varietyof governance modes and partnerships. Research on economic sustainability tends to focus on modes ofcentral and public-private governance; research on environmental challenges focus more on privategovernance of supply networks and; research on social sustainability tends to focus on more partici-patory, interactive and self-governing modes between multiple actors. The analysis provides a uniqueclassification of scientific articles through modes of governance, which is helpful in positioning researchin the debate, analyzing and comparing approaches and thus highlighting current gaps and opportunitiesfor future research. The results indicate that both inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration is needed toaddress the identified dialectical and practical challenges, including increased involvement of research asa key actor in knowledge creation for governance and sustainability transformation within the textile andclothing industry.
ZeitschriftJournal of Cleaner Production
Anzahl der Seiten15
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 10.07.2020

Zugehörige Projekte

  • Processes of Sustainability Transformation (Promotionskolleg)

    Projekt: Forschung