Collaborative governance or state regulation? Endless efforts but little capacity for sustainability transformation of the German textile sector

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review

Authors

Collaborative governance is increasingly demanded in multiple sectors and considered promising to address wicked sustainability challenges. Whether it meets these expectations remains uncertain, particularly as such initiatives take place within a broader landscape of public and private policies and projects. We explore how collaborative governance initiative is shaped by its broader landscape to deliver on its goals. To do so, we provide a framework for analysing governance modes and social interactions in col-laborative governance. We use an exploratory case study of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (hereafter: Textiles Partnership). The partnership is a multi-stake-holder, collaborative governance initiative that links to a variety of different initiatives, and highlights barriers and transformation potential both within and outside its boundaries. Based on qualitative interviews, analysis of policy documents and a focus group discussion, we show that the complexity of the landscape field is accompanied by capacity constraints for all actors involved. Such complexity raises questions about whether this governance mode influences actual change on the ground, or diverts energies into navigating and proliferating complexity with low levels of meaningful outcomes. There is a growing call from actors within the partnership towards more state-centred regulation, resulting in a Due Diligence Act in 2021, to regulate corporate action across national borders. The evidence we present shows the need to reconsider the balance between state regulation and collaborative governance arrangements. K E Y W O R D S collaborative governance, corporate social responsibility, due diligence act, modes of governance, social interactions, sustainability transformation
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Number of pages22
ISSN1756-932X
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 07.06.2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Environmental Policy and Governance published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    Research areas

  • collaborative governance, corporate social responsibility, due diligence act, modes of governance, social interactions, sustainability transformation
  • Sustainability Governance

DOI