The Supply Chain Project



On the 24th of April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory located in Savar, Bangladesh, collapsed due to unacceptable health and safety conditions, leading to the death of more than 1100 workers. Some of the major apparel brands and retailers in the world were sourcing from it (see the NYU reports of 2014 and 2015).


Since then, I have been traveling to South Asia on a yearly basis to do interviews, to visit factories and to better understand why such tragedies continue to happen, how we can bring change bottom-up and what are the private business implications of adopting a more sustainable posture. Among the people I had the fortune to interview, many steer the social and environmental agenda of their organization, and they often are corporate executives and NGO representatives.


Through this project, my objective is to add evidence on how to improve working conditions and the well-being of the natural environment upstream in emerging markets' supply chains, ultimately supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #1 (No Poverty), #8 (Decent work and economic growth), #12 (Responsible consumption and production) and #13 (Climate action). 


I completed more than 150 face-to-face interviews for this project in the past years, and I have used the evidence collected during my fieldwork to co-author a number of academic articles, especially on the apparel supply chain in South Asia – e.g., Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan – and more recently on the coffee supply chain in Thailand.