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Journal of Business Ethics (2010) 93:201–222 Ó Springer 2010

DOI 10.1007/s10551-010-0561-7

Clusters, Chains and Compliance:

Corporate Social Responsibility
and Governance in Football Peter Lund-Thomsen
Manufacturing in South Asia Khalid Nadvi

ABSTRACT. A recent concern in the debate on cor- Programme for the Elimination of Child Labor; MSI:
porate social responsibility (CSR) in developing countries Multi-Stakeholder Initiative; NGO: Non-Governmental
relates to the tension between demands for CSR com- Organization; OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer;
pliance found in many global value chains (GVCs) and PILER: Pakistan Institute of Labor Research and
the search for locally appropriate responses to these Education; SAHEP: Select-Anwar Khawaja Health and
pressures. In this context, an emerging and relatively Education Program; SCCI: Sialkot Chamber of Com-
understudied area of interest relates to small firm industrial merce and Industry; SCF: Save the Children Fund; SGFI:
clusters. Local clusters offer the potential for local joint Sports Goods Foundation of India; SGMEA: Sports
action, and thus a basis for improving local compliance on Goods Manufacturers and Exporters AssociationUNIDO:
CSR through collective monitoring and local gover- United Nations Industrial Development Organization;
nance. This article explores the interrelationship between UNICEF: United Nations Children Fund; WFSGI:
global governance, exercised through GVC ties, and local World Federation of Sports Goods Industry
governance, via cluster institutions, in ensuring compli-
ance with CSR pressures. It undertakes a comparative
analysis of two leading export-oriented football manu- Introduction
facturing clusters in South Asia that have both faced
common challenges on child labour. The article shows
A recent concern in the debate on corporate social
that both forms vertical and horizontal governance have
played a part in shaping the response of the two clusters responsibility (CSR) and its impacts in developing
on child labour. Moreover, these two distinct forms of countries relates to the tension between demands for
governance have also led to quite differentiated outcomes compliance with codes of conduct found in many
in terms of forms of work organization and child labour global value chains (GVCs) and the search for locally
monitoring. This raises broader questions on how global appropriate responses to these pressures.1 On one
CSR demands can locally be better embedded and the hand, internationally branded companies are con-
conditions under which football stitchers labour in these cerned with negative media reports about the use of
new work forms. child labour, poor working conditions, worker
rights abuses, and other forms of ‘unethical’ behav-
KEY WORDS: corporate social responsibility, global iour in their supply chains that may dent their public
value chains, industrial clusters, South Asia
image. On the other hand, local suppliers in the
developing world fret about the added costs associ-
ABBREVIATIONS: AA: Atlanta Agreement; CSDO:
Child and Social Development Organization; CSR: ated with CSR compliance, the simultaneous pres-
Corporate Social Responsibility; DFID: Department for sures from buyers to reduce prices, and the relevance
International Development; FIFA: The World Football of external CSR demands to their particular social
Federation; GVC: Global Value Chain; ILO: Interna- and cultural contexts (Barrientos, 2008; De Neve,
tional Labor Organization; IMAC: Independent Moni- 2009; Neilson and Pritchard, 2009). How might
toring Association for Child Labor; IPEC: International these contradictory global and local pressures be
202 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

resolved, especially in ways that appear appropriate well-known global brands such as Nike and Adidas
to the local context? that source from suppliers across the developing
In this global–local nexus linking Northern CSR world through complex GVC ties. It is also an
concerns to production sites in the developing industry that has faced substantial international
world, an emerging and yet relatively understudied pressures on labour standards, especially child labour
area of interest relates to local production areas – the (Lund-Thomsen and Nadvi, 2010; Nadvi, 2008)
so-called small firm industrial clusters (Accountabil- Complying with these standards is thus a pre-
ity, 2006). Many of the most powerful examples of requisite for developing country suppliers if they want
local industrial competitiveness in the developing to access the high end of the sports goods markets in
world emanate from such forms of industrial orga- North America and Europe. In reality, however, the
nization (Schmitz and Nadvi, 1999). Industrial relevance and effectiveness of compliance with such
clusters in some developing countries have success- CSR demands remain highly contested.
fully overcome the constraints facing individual We argue that the complex interaction between
small firms, and aggressively compete alongside large vertical GVC governance pressures and local hori-
firms in demanding global markets. Potential clus- zontal cluster governance responses in Sialkot and
tering advantages include not only the economies of Jalandhar have resulted in divergent ways of insti-
scale and scope, agglomeration gains, but also the tutionalizing CSR concerns in both clusters. In
possibility for joint action. Cluster promotion has Sialkot, the threat of boycotts, the compliance
become an important plank of national and inter- demands of leading brand buyers and intense scru-
national policy support for local industrial develop- tiny from international media and advocacy NGOs
ment in many parts of the world (Altenburg and have been instrumental in promoting a structural
Meyer-Stamer, 1999; Ceglie et al., 1999; OECD, transformation of production. Diffused home-based
1999). Yet, despite this interest, we have little football stitching has been replaced in large measure
information on how CSR pressures are addressed in by a more centralized, and more easily monitored,
cluster settings. model of production undertaken within designated
In this article, the authors try to develop a new stitching centres. At the same time, a history of some
way of exploring the interplay between GVC gov- collective action in Sialkot has facilitated the devel-
ernance and local cluster governance in ensuring opment of a cluster-wide CSR monitoring mecha-
compliance with CSR standards. While the CSR nism. In contrast, while the much smaller Jalandhar
literature covers a wide range of issues,2 we are cluster has also faced scrutiny on child labour, the
particularly interested in labour standards, and spe- cluster has only recently developed a strong collec-
cifically on child labour, as a subset of CSR codes. tive action institution. The fact that its leading
Our core questions are: Does horizontal cluster buyers are not the top brands in sports goods has
governance – in the form of collective action meant that it has neither faced the same extent of
through cluster institutions – enhance CSR com- monitoring by advocacy groups as experienced in
pliance by reducing monitoring costs to individual Sialkot, nor had to undertake the same degree of
firms and providing collective oversight of cluster restructuring of production arrangements at the be-
firms’ CSR behaviour? Or does vertical GVC gov- hest of brand buyers. Thus, home-based stitching
ernance ensure greater adherence with CSR stan- continues to be the dominant model of football
dards as Northern lead firms dictate the terms and stitching in Jalandhar.
processes under which local developing world sup- This study draws on primary field research con-
pliers produce? ducted between July 2007 and July 2008. During
We address these questions through a comparative this period, several visits were undertaken to both
study of two particular South Asian clusters that clusters alongside research in Europe and the United
stand out in the manufacture of footballs – Sialkot in States. Interviews took place with a wide range of
Pakistani Punjab and Jalandhar in Indian Punjab. key informants, local institutions and firms in the
These export-oriented clusters are important players two clusters. In Sialkot, this involved four large,
in the global sporting goods industry. The global three medium-sized and four small enterprises. In
sports industry is marked by the presence of the Jalandhar, we interviewed five medium-sized and
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 203

four small enterprises. While these samples are smaller brands such as Select Sports (Denmark) and
clearly not enough to generalize our findings to all Fairdeal Trading (UK). Finally, we had in-depth
firms within each clusters as would have been pos- conversations with former or present representa-
sible with the use of a large quantitative survey, we tives of international NGOs, including Save the
used a maximum variation methodology to pur- Children-UK, Dalit Solidarity Network Interna-
posefully select interviews with first-tier suppliers tional, and the Indian Commission of the Nether-
that were integrated into different types of value lands that had an interest in or worked on child
chains, serving different types of branded and non- labour issues in each cluster.
branded buyers to understand the operation of CSR The article is structured as follows. First, we
compliance pressures in both Sialkot and Jalandhar. outline the theoretical linkages between the GVC,
In addition, repeated discussions took place with the industrial cluster and CSR literatures. We then
local ‘collective action’ institutions in each cluster. In describe the similarities and differences that exist in
Sialkot, this included the Sialkot Chamber of the internal organization and external value chain
Commerce and Industry (SCCI), the Independent linkages of the Sialkot and Jalandhar clusters. We
Monitoring Association for Child Labour (IMAC), then undertake a comparative analysis of how GVC
and the Child and Social Development Organization governance and local cluster governance on CSR
(CSDO), a sub-body of the SCCI. In Jalandhar, issues have been institutionalized in the two clusters.
interviews were conducted with the Sports Goods Finally, we highlight the main findings of our study
Foundation of India (SGFI) and the Sports Goods and the research and policy implications that arise
Manufacturers and Exporters Association (SGMEA). from our analysis.
We also met representatives of leading local NGOs
involved in social protection or advocacy work
related to improving the work conditions and live-
Global value chains and CSR compliance
lihoods of football stitchers. In Sialkot, this included
in industrial clusters: exploring the linkages
Bunyad, Sudhaar, Select-Anwar Khawaja Health
and Education Program (SAHEP), as well as Pakistan
In this section, we explore the potential for a fruitful
Institute of Labour Education and Research
interaction between the GVC, industrial cluster and
(PILER). In Jalandhar, this included REACH, the
CSR literatures in exploring how CSR compliance
Lions Club and Volunteers for Social Justice. In
might be enhanced in industrial clusters in the
addition, we met the trade union representatives in
developing world. A number of authors have
Sialkot from the cluster’s former leading firm, Saga
explored the links between local industrial clusters and
Sports, and the Pakistan Workers Federation. We
GVCs (see e.g. Bair and Gereffi, 2001; Humphrey
also spoke to representatives from international
and Schmitz, 2002; Nadvi, 2004; Pietrobelli and
policy actors operating in the two clusters, including
Rabellotti, 2007; Schmitz, 2004). However, the
representatives from the International Labour Orga-
literature on the theoretical linkages between these
nization (ILO) and the United Nations Industrial
forms of industrial organization and CSR remains
Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Lahore
sparse (Nadvi, 2008). We begin by outlining the GVC
and Sialkot and the Department of Labour, Province
and industrial cluster approaches, and then assess their
of Punjab, Pakistan, as well as the Deputy Com-
conceptual linkages with the CSR literature.
missioner of Labour, Jalandhar, India and former and
present UNIDO staff in New Delhi and Jalandhar,
who had worked with the cluster in the last 5 years.
Outside South Asia, we met senior officials at the The global value chain approach
ILO and the World Federation of the Sporting
Goods Industry (WFSGI) in Switzerland. We also The GVC model maps the complex links between
interviewed senior personnel of leading brands to globally dispersed producers and global lead firms. A
understand their sourcing and CSR practices in core focus in the GVC literature is theorizing how
relation to the two clusters. These included Nike global lead firms exercise power in their relationships
(US), Adidas (Germany), Mitre/Pentland (UK), and with their suppliers (Altenburg, 2006; Gereffi, 1999;
204 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

Gereffi et al., 2005; Gibbon and Ponte, 2005; The GVC literature identifies two divergent paths
Humphrey and Schmitz, 2002; Nadvi, 2008). The through which local producers can their improve
GVC approach underlines the critical role of global competitiveness. The first, the ‘high road’ to com-
lead firms in structuring value chain ties by coordi- petitiveness, involves local producers increasing their
nating the processes and organization of global own profits and returns to labour by engaging in
production and distribution, thereby exercising product upgrading (‘making better products’), pro-
‘power’ over local actors. Understanding how global cess upgrading (‘making them more efficiently’),
lead firms exercise ‘asymmetrical power’ over dis- functional upgrading (‘moving from lower value-
persed global suppliers has required the analytical added product assembly and manufacturing into
framework of transaction cost economics. ‘Reducing design and branding functions’), or chain upgrading
the costs of organizing the chain, coordinating dis- (‘using the skills gained by working in other sector
persed and varied suppliers and dealing with con- to gain competitive advantage in other sectors’)
cerns such as asset specificity lie at the heart of what (Schmitz, 2004). The second path, the ‘low road’,
lead firms do. This can either take place through implies a ‘downgrading’ strategy that includes
market transactions at one extreme or through squeezing labour (by offering lower wages and
internalized hierarchical forms of organization at the poorer working conditions), moving into lower-
other extreme. In between these extremes lie a value-added activities, or failing to meet environ-
number of distinct forms of network relationships’ mental and labour standards (for example, not
(Nadvi, 2008, p. 331). In the GVC governance investing in pollution control) to compete against
framework suggested by Gereffi et al. (2005), the other more efficient producers in the developing
specific governance outcome in a given value chain world (Gibbon and Ponte, 2005).
is determined by the capability of suppliers, the Downgrading is seen as a short-term (and unde-
nature and complexity of the transaction involved, sirable) strategy in the GVC literature given that any
and the ability to which information can be codified. competitive advantage is likely be eroded in the
They identify five types of value chain governance: long-run by the large number of producers (and
market-based ties at one extreme and hierarchy at countries) that are capable of engaging in fierce price
the other with modular networks, relational net- competition on the basis of cheap and abundant la-
works and captive networks as distinct network bour. Instead, most academic and policy discussions
relationships in-between. While this framework has on clusters and GVCs have focused on how indus-
come in for criticism (see Coe et al., 2008; Ponte trial upgrading might occur, and how best might this
and Gibbon, 2005), it continues to provide a useful be promoted. The GVC literature emphasizes the
analytical handle on inter-firm governance within role of lead firms in determining the prospects for
GVC relationships. developing country suppliers to upgrade. This
Another central concern in the GVC literature underscores the importance of ‘vertical’ value chain
relates to how local producers in developing coun- governance. The industrial cluster literature, on the
tries might improve their position in the world other hand, stresses that local inter-firm cooperation
economy by inserting themselves into GVCs. For is important towards promoting industrial upgrad-
developing country producers, a key challenge is ing. This underlines the significance of ‘horizontal’
thus how they link up to these lead buyers in ways cluster governance.
that enable them to access export markets, adopt
new technologies and acquire more efficient and
modern methods of production and management The industrial cluster approach
through knowledge transfers (Bair and Gereffi,
2001). However, as newer low-cost producers enter Clusters are geographical spaces, or regions, where
the global economy, developing country suppliers firms in similar and cognate activities are located
within GVC relationship increasingly find them- within well-defined spatial boundaries wherein
selves under pressure to reduce costs further, to seek proximity promotes a range of economic benefits
out greater efficiencies and to be ever-more com- (Porter, 1998). These gains include agglomeration
petitive. benefits that generate economies of scale and scope
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 205

for small clustered producers. Thus, economic codes of conduct throughout their supply chains and
externalities arise from the presence of a critical mass exploring how CSR codes affect working conditions
of firms, suppliers and a skilled labour pool within (Barrientos and Smith, 2007; ETI, 2006; Locke and
the confines of the cluster, as well as through flows Romis, 2007; Locke et al., 2007, 2009; Nelson
of information, knowledge and skills within the et al., 2007). Similarly, the industrial cluster literature
cluster. Hence, small clustered producers are able to has emphasized that compliance with quality, social
overcome many of the limitations imposed upon and environmental standards is often a necessary but
them by their size. In addition, clustering offers the not sufficient condition for continued market access
possibility for local joint action. This can result in in the North. It has also pointed to the role that joint
competitive advantages for clustered producers that action, through industry associations and multi-
lie beyond their capacities as individual producers stakeholder initiatives, can play in facilitating cluster-
(Schmitz and Nadvi, 1999). Joint action, however, is wide compliance with such standards (Kennedy,
not a necessary outcome of clustering, and it can be 1999, 2006; Lund-Thomsen and Nadvi, 2010;
very difficult to motivate cluster firms to undertake Nadvi, 1999a, b, 2004; Tewari and Pillai, 2005).
such forms of cooperation as they often perceive A key aspect missing from these studies, however,
themselves as competitors. Nevertheless, where joint is whether the design, implementation, monitoring
action takes place, gains to cluster-based actors can and impact assessment of codes of conduct are more
be significant. This often arises in the face of external effectively achieved through vertical GVC gover-
shocks where, through joint action and co-opera- nance or horizontal local cluster governance.
tion, local firms find ways to confront common Moreover, little attention has been paid to whether
challenges. Together, these potential gains from and how local cluster-based actors might negotiate
clustering, agglomeration economies and action are the norms and values codified within the CSR
captured in the concept of collective efficiency requirements of global lead firms. Instead, cluster-
(Nadvi, 1999a, b; Schmitz, 1995).3 based actors are portrayed as being ‘standard takers’
Recent analytical attempts have focused on how as opposed to ‘standard setters’ (Humphrey and
the GVC and industrial cluster literatures may be Schmitz, 2002; Nadvi, 2004, 2008).
reconciled by specifying how particular forms of The value chain framework has argued that in
value chain governance appear to enable or disable ‘captive’ supply chains, the lead firm (the external
the prospects of local producers to upgrade (Hum- buyer) exercises almost complete control over their
phrey and Schmitz, 2002). The emerging consensus suppliers in terms of what is produced, where, when,
appears to be that developing country producers may how, by whom, in what quantity and at what price
experience relatively fast process and product (Gereffi et al., 2005). In the ethical trading and
upgrading by linking up with global lead firms but ethical sourcing literature, it is also assumed that the
that the latter firms will attempt to prevent devel- lead firms, often international retail brands or global
oping country producers from encroaching on their brand supermarkets, operating in highly CSR-
core competence –namely the design, branding and sensitive industries, design and enforce compliance
marketing of their products (Schmitz, 2006). with CSR standards in their captive supply chains
(Barrientos, 2008). Much effort has thus been
devoted to analysing the contents of the codes of
Global value chains, industrial clusters and CSR conduct of lead firms, the types of monitoring
mechanisms used to verify their implementation,
While the GVC and industrial cluster literatures and (to a lesser extent) how they are operationalized
have for long been inter-related, less attention has on the ground in developing countries (see e.g.
been paid to the way in which the notion of CSR, Barrientos and Smith, 2007; Fransen and Kolk,
particularly corporate codes of conduct, impacts 2007; Kolk and Tulder, 2001).
upon, and is itself impacted by, the relationships However, there may be grounds for questioning
between GVCs and industrial clusters. Recently, the influence that international lead firms are capable
there has been much emphasis in the GVC literature of exercising in relation to determining which
on investigating how global lead firms implement type of CSR values and norms should dominate
206 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

production in industrial clusters. First, it may only be cluster-based initiatives in addressing poverty
a small minority of firms in a given cluster, which are reduction goals (Nadvi and Barrientos, 2004). Sim-
integrated in captive chains dominated by globally ilarly, cluster-based institutions of collective action –
branded lead firms (see also Bazan and Navas- such as business associations, chambers of commerce
Alemán, 2004). Even if these local suppliers account and other trade bodies – are said to provide effective
for a significant share of production in a given platforms for organizing collective responses to
cluster, other local, often medium-sized, producers common challenges (Nadvi, 1999b; see the collec-
may be integrated in relational value chains where tion of papers in Schmitz and Nadvi, 1999). In this
family-based friendships between the buyer and regard, there may be a role for such local cluster
supplier have developed across generations. In such institutions in the development of multi-stakeholder
chains, it is possible that mutual dependence and initiatives (MSIs) aimed at promoting CSR in
trust relationships may play a more significant role in developing countries.
determining which values and norms should guide The MSIs are different from individual private
ethical production (Lim and Phillips, 2008). At the company standards (which are monitored by only
other end of the scale, small and micro-enterprise one firm) and collective private company standards
cluster-based producers may be integrated into the (which include more than a single company and are
world economy through arms-length transactions, developed through a process of consensus building
selling their products abroad via agents or trading amongst industry actors). The distinction between
houses to less CSR-sensitive small-scale buyers in collective private company standards and MSIs is
the North or Third World markets. In such situa- that the latter involve a wider set of actors in the
tions, the scope for GVC governance in determining formulation, implementation and monitoring of
the ‘ethical’ values and norms that should guide social and environmental standards such as NGOs,
production would be far less pronounced (Jiang, trade unions, and sometimes national governments
2009). Second, the international buyers are rarely in and/or international organizations (Tallontire, 2007).
a position to force their suppliers into full compli- Southern-based MSIs embody a potential for facili-
ance with their codes of conduct. Audits – whether tating access to high value markets, localizing stan-
internal or external – undertaken by or at the request dards, opening space for the intended beneficiaries to
of international brands are often pre-announced, have their voice heard, establishing more independent
making it possible for suppliers to appear to be in forms of CSR monitoring and securing greater local
compliance on the day of the audit by forging buy-in or ownership of the social priorities embodied
documents related to work hours and wages as well within such initiatives (Dolan and Opondo, 2005;
coaching their workers to provide the ‘right’ Tallontire and Greenhalgh, 2005).
answers. They may then to return to ‘business as In spite of these achievements, there is still a need
usual’ once the auditors leave (Barrientos, 2008; for developing a clearer understanding of the inter-
Harney, 2008). Finally, as many suppliers are facing action of GVC and local cluster forces in deter-
multiple audits every year, they are often met with mining which values and norms are to prevail
contradictory demands from their international in cluster-wide CSR interventions. A potentially
customers and required to shoulder the costs of promising contribution to this debate is Neilson and
many of these audits that are undertaken at the re- Pritchard’s recent book Value Chain Struggles (Neil-
quest of their buyers. This experience tends to point son and Pritchard, 2009). They argue that new forms
towards the need for greater buyer coordination of value chain governance and local institutional
amongst the multiple codes and audits that suppliers environments interact in ways that create various
are required to meet (Bolwig et al., 2010; Nadvi, kinds of conflicts and tensions. In fact, the interaction
2008; Riisgaard et al., 2010).4 between GVC governance and local forms of insti-
It is against this background that there may be tutional governance is characterized by processes of
greater scope for local cluster governance in assuming struggle. From this point of view, GVC governance
responsibility for the implementation of industry- and local institutions are necessarily co-produced.
wide CSR approaches. Recent contributions to the That is, it is not only lead firms that determine the
cluster literature have demonstrated the potential of types of governance embodied with a given GVC
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 207

but local institutions also play a significant role in sional ethical strategy to CSR implementation may
co-determining what type of value chain governance reflect the concern of some internationally branded
prevails. The chain is both structured from the top- buyers that swiftly adopting punitive measures for
down by globally branded firms and simultaneously non-compliant suppliers may do more harm than
from the bottom-up by local, place-based institu- good by forcing children to seek work opportunities
tions. Hence, there is no pre-determined outcome in even more hazardous industries. Instead, the
of these struggles in economic, social or environ- presence of child labour in developing countries is
mental terms. Instead they must be analysed within seen as a complex problem in this strategy, which
the specific global and local spatial configurations in needs a solution that does not leave the child worse
which these contending forces interact with a view off (Kolk and Tulder, 2004).5
to understanding how particular outcomes in terms In between the two extremes of the universal and
of upgrading, labour and livelihood, environmental the multi-dimensional ethical strategy lies a middle
governance and the access that small-scale producers ground in which brands may commit themselves to
have to global and local markets are produced (ibid.). adopting universal moral standards, e.g. the eradi-
In terms of the role that GVC governance plays in cation of child labour, but choose to use different
determining which norms and value are to prevail in means to implement this principle in different con-
cluster-wide CSR interventions, it is important to texts (Kolk and Tulder, 2002). For example, it may
note that internationally branded buyers need to be possible to uphold the universal principle of
navigate between the CSR demands of their ensuring a minimum age for a working child but
domestic audiences, such as consumers, NGOs and leave it to the national legislations of different
the media, and the perceived (ir)relevance and (lack developing countries to determine whether the
of) applicability of these demands from the view- minimum ages should be 12, 14 or 16 years. Simi-
point of suppliers, workers and communities in the larly, it is possible to uphold on a universal ban on
developing world (Lund-Thomsen, 2008). At one child labour involving children below the age of 12
end of the scale, internationally branded buyers may but allow some forms of child work – here defined
choose to deal with these competing demands by as light work undertaken from the age of 12 pro-
adopting a global ethical strategy, employing uni- vided that this does not negatively affect the health
versal moral standards that are to be exported and development of children or interfere with their
through their CSR and human resource manage- education (Lund-Thomsen and Nadvi, 2009).
ment practices to their suppliers in the developing The issue of child labour points to the fact that it
world. Adopting a global ethical strategy may be is not only GVC governance but also local gover-
particularly useful in demonstrating to home country nance forces that play key roles in determining the
constituencies that outsourcing of production to norms and values that guide joint action CSR ini-
developing countries will not create a race-to-the- tiatives within clusters. Cluster-based actors includ-
bottom where brands’ switch orders between ing industry associations, local NGOs, and other
countries in search of ever cheaper labour (Kolk and actors may challenge the idea that child labour is in
Tulder, 2004). In this strategy, serious instances of itself a ‘problem’ that needs to be eradicated. In their
non-compliance with universal CSR requirements, studies of child labour in Bangladesh, Haider (2008)
e.g. the eradication of child labour, may thus be and Ruwanpura and Roncolato (2006) have chal-
punished through sanctions such as brands severing lenged what they perceive as the uncritical applica-
their ties with non-compliant suppliers (Lund- tion of concepts such as ‘child labour eradication’ to
Thomsen, 2008). contexts in which extreme material depravation is
At the other end of the scale, brands may adopt a widespread. In fact, simply focusing on preventing
multi-dimensional ethical strategy that takes a more children from participating in any kind of work may
relativist view of ethical challenges arising in their not only disregard the economic rights of families
global supply chains. In this strategy, lead firms may and communities to work and earn a living, but also
adopt a more context-sensitive, situation-specific deny them any sense of agency in improving their
and tailor-made approach to dealing with CSR own circumstances. Hence, in the viewpoints of
challenges in their supply chains. A multi-dimen- these authors, the dominant understanding of child
208 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

labour in developed countries may largely be match balls to the world’s leading brands such as
incompatible with the real-life situations of working Nike and Adidas. Recent technological develop-
children in some parts of the developing world. ments, however, have seen thermo-moulded balls
Instead they suggest that it is necessary to study both emerge as a serious challenge to hand-stitched balls
the ongoing struggles of working children and their in the premium quality market, while improvements
families within their respective contexts as well as in machine-stitched products raise new competitive
the broader political economy in which they are pressures for medium quality hand-stitched ball
embedded with a view to devising more locally producers. The Jalandhar cluster does supply some
appropriate solutions to their particular challenges. leading regional brands (such as Mitre), but its out-
Drawing on Nielson and Pritchards’ (2009) study, put is primarily of lower-end promotional balls sold
we can thus see that the interplay between GVC and to medium/small sports brands or wholesalers/chain
local cluster governance is not only a question of stores throughout the world. Both clusters face a
whether value chain or cluster-based actors are number of common challenges. These include
better positioned to ensure compliance with inter- competition from Chinese producers using newer,
national CSR standards. In fact, the interaction machine-stitched technology as opposed to the
between GVC governance and local cluster gover- ‘older’ hand-stitched production of soccer balls
nance is likely to embody struggles over the partic- made in Sialkot and Jalandhar. Both clusters lack
ular values and norms that should guide CSR supporting industries supplying the key raw mate-
cluster-wide interventions. The outcomes of such rials, such as PU and PVC, adding to their lead time
struggles are not pre-determined but must be ana- to deliver in comparison with Chinese competitors.
lysed within particular contexts where the interac- In addition, political instability has impacted on both
tion between GVC pressures and local cluster clusters, and is currently a serious impediment to the
responses necessarily co-produce the outcomes of Pakistani cluster.
collective action CSR responses. In this article, we While producers in both clusters gain from
investigate how these competing forces are played agglomeration advantages, the experience with local
out in the Sialkot and Jalandhar football clusters. The joint action across the two clusters is markedly dif-
next section describes the similarities in and differ- ferent. The Sialkot cluster has a strong tradition,
ences between the internal organization and external dating back at least two decades, of collective
value chain linkages of the Sialkot and Jalandhar industry action to confront common challenges and
clusters, as well as their common CSR challenges. respond to external threats. This history of local
collective action has strengthened some of the
institutions of local governance within the cluster,
The Sialkot and Jalandhar football clusters especially the respective trade bodies and the local
chamber of commerce (SCCI). In contrast, joint
Since 2000, China has emerged as the leading global action was relatively limited in the Jalandhar cluster
exporter of inflatable footballs, but its dominance is until the end of the 1990s.
mainly restricted to machine-stitched, low-end pro- Most of the larger firms in the Sialkot cluster act as
motional and toy balls. In the area of hand-stitched original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to leading
balls, the traditional form of manufacturing footballs, global brands. For the major brands, especially the two
South Asia is dominant with production concentrated ‘mega’ brands Nike and Adidas, the GVC relationship
in two clusters: Sialkot, Pakistan; and Jalandhar, India. is such that local suppliers are in a captive governance
But these are far from equal clusters. Sialkot is arrangement with their lead firms. Producing for such
approximately three times bigger than the Jalandhar leading brands has its advantages – most notably in
cluster in terms of numbers of firms (approximately terms of production volumes, market access, and flows
400 firms in Sialkot vs. 150 in Jalandhar); and eight of technical knowledge and know-how. However,
times larger in terms of value of exports (US$ 185 captive chain ties can leave local OEM suppliers highly
million vs. US $22 million in 2005). vulnerable to the changing sourcing patters of global
The Sialkot cluster has enjoyed a unique position brands. An overview of the differences between the
as the leading source for premium hand-stitched Sialkot and Jalandhar clusters are presented in Table I.
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 209

Key Differences Between the Sialkot and Jalandhar Clusters

Characteristics/location Sialkot Jalandhar

Number of firms 20 (large)

50 (medium) 10 (medium)
400 (small and micro) 140 (small and micro)
Number of subcontractors 2400 1000
Number of football stitchers 30,000 12,000
Exports (2005) $185 m $22 m
Type of handstitched ball High-quality match ball
Medium-quality training ball Medium-quality training ball
Low-quality promotional ball Low-quality promotional ball
Key buyers Megabrands (Nike and Adidas) Medium-sized, smaller brands
History of collective action Extensive Limited

One of the main challenges posed by the leading the ILO through its International Programme for the
brands is associated with compliance with their Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), and the social
codes of conduct, especially with respect to labour protection agenda was led by UNICEF and SCF.
standards. During the mid-1990s, producers in both Much of the funding for the implementation of the
the Sialkot and Jalandhar clusters faced international AA came from international donors – most notably
media allegations on child labour in their respective the United States’ Department of Labor, and the
clusters (Khan, 2007; Nadvi, 2004, 2008). Although Department for International Development (DFID)
it is hard to verify, varying estimates suggested in the UK. The world football federation (FIFA)
between 5000 and 17,000 child workers in the provided some financial support, while local pro-
Sialkot football cluster (Husselbee, 2000) and ducers in Sialkot also contributed to the imple-
according to an Indian government report, up to mentation of the programme through the SCCI.
12,000 in Jalandhar (Lund-Thomsen and Nadvi, The Jalandhar cluster did not play any role in the
2009). In response to these allegations, and to avoid framing of the AA. Nevertheless, faced with similar
an international boycott of football exports, the challenges, the Jalandhar cluster through its repre-
Atlanta Agreement (AA) was formulated. Signed in sentative trade body, and with the support of the
Atlanta, Georgia, USA in February 1997, the AA Government of India and FIFA, adopted the AA
was intended specifically for the Sialkot cluster, and framework as a blueprint for implementing a similar
involved negotiations between a wide range of intervention in Jalandhar. In contrast to Sialkot,
stakeholders, including major sports brands, the however, monitoring was initially undertaken by the
World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry Swiss auditing and accreditation firm SGS, and there
(WFSGI), the Soccer Industry Council of America, was only limited involvement of international
the ILO, the United Nations Children Fund agencies, donors and NGOs.
(UNICEF), Save the Children – UK (SCF) and the Trading with the Sialkot and Jalandhar clusters
Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry represents a significant reputational risk to interna-
(SCCI). The AA proposed two main activities. First, tional brands if child labour is found in their supply
a cluster-wide child-monitoring mechanism estab- chains. Thus, in late 2006, Nike decided to sever ties
lished to identify children involved in football with the largest supplier firm (and Nike’s then sole
stitching. Second, a social protection programme supplier), Saga Sports, Sialkot, on the basis of alleged
was developed so that the child stitchers could be worker rights violations and unauthorized out-
transferred from stitching to school while ensuring sourcing of football stitching to home-based loca-
that they and their families did not suffer in the tions. Nike’s ‘pull-out’ illustrates the extent to which
process. Child labour monitoring was undertaken by large brands will go to avoid risks of being associated
210 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

with child labour. Nike only re-entered the Sialkot contract. Besides, as they are contract workers, they
cluster in late 2007, sourcing from new suppliers, do not have access to the legal benefits associated
and ensuring that through radical changes in pro- with Pakistan’s labour laws. The centres do, how-
duction arrangements, its CSR requirements, espe- ever, provide a space for workers to congregate, and
cially to mitigate against the risks of being tainted by a number of women-only centres catering to wo-
child labour, were adequately addressed.6 men workers, some with additional support for
women through childcare arrangements. Most crit-
ically, the stitching centres provide an effective
Global value chain governance and CSR mechanism to monitor labour and guard against
child labour. Access to children is restricted, and
In this section, we explore how GVC governance working conditions more easily audited. Stitching
pressures aimed at ensuring compliance with CSR centres can also be seen as a way to improve quality
standards have altered the forms of production and product standardization through improved
organization in both the Sialkot and Jalandhar clus- monitoring of stitching activities. In Sialkot,
ters. Initially, the AA led to the emergence of reg- exporting firms, often under pressure from their lead
istered stitching centres linked to individual buyers, agreed to join the ILO’s independent and
exporting firms in both Sialkot and Jalandhar. In external child labour monitoring programme.
terms of GVC governance, some brands and local Through this programme, ILO monitors conducted
suppliers in Sialkot went further, developing other unannounced random visits to all the registered
models of production organization in response to stitching centres to check on the presence of child
CSR pressures. These included what we label as the workers. For many global buyers, the primary CSR
‘home-grown CSR’ model, the ‘fair trade’ model demand was the need to ensure that no child was
and the ‘formal factory model’ of production. The engaged in production. This system of child labour
last one arose as a result of the ‘pull-out’ of Nike monitoring, underscored by the presence of ILO
from Sialkot in 2006 and its subsequent return to monitors, was seen as an adequate basis for ensuring
sourcing from the cluster in 2007. We briefly outline this minimal CSR compliance.
these distinct models below. Our interviews with key informants and our field
visits suggested that the stitching centre model is far
more widespread in Sialkot than in Jalandhar.
The stitching centre model A handful of medium-sized exporters from Jalandhar
have established stitching centres, usually encom-
The emergence of the stitching centre model of passing between 10 and 50 stitchers, to meet the
production, in response to the child labour chal- compliance demands of their international buyers.
lenges and the formulation of the AA, is most clearly To a large extent, however, home-based stitching
apparent in Sialkot. It has rapidly become the continues to be the dominant form of production in
dominant mode of production organization in Sial- Jalandhar, although most home-based units in
kot. Each individual registered stitching centre is Jalandhar are registered with the SGFI, the internal
linked with an exporting firm. The stitching centres child labour monitoring body in Jalandhar.
are either owned by the firm, or are sub-contractors For a small handful of brands sourcing from
to the exporting firm. Stitching centres vary in size, Sialkot, however, their CSR concerns go beyond
with as few as five persons in them, to a handful of child labour. Some brands – especially Nike and
centres with over 500 stitchers. By 2008, the average Adidas – emphasize compliance with their full code
number of stitchers working in a stitching centre was of conduct which incorporate a wider set of labour
11 in Sialkot compared with only four stitchers per standards and labour rights. In one instance, in
stitching unit in Jalandhar, reflecting the trend Sialkot, CSR concerns related to social develop-
towards gathering the football stitching process into mental concerns which involved a European brand
relatively larger units in Sialkot.7 As in home-based working with its supplier on addressing core com-
stitching, workers in the stitching centres continued munity needs that were identified from the bottom-
to be paid on a piece-rated basis, and not on a waged up by the local supplier. Finally, a very few buyers
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 211

have adopted a CSR value of ‘fair trade’ into their enable parents to pay their children’s school fees, the
sourcing arrangements from local suppliers. How- provision of informal education to children aged
ever, to date it is only in Sialkot, and not in Jalan- 8–14 – either at a company-owned learning centre
dhar, that the home-grown and the fair trade models or through the use of mobile teachers visiting the
have emerged, and even these are limited in terms of children in their homes, an adult literacy pro-
scale. We outline these two variants below. gramme, as well as provision of medicine and
free-of-cost health treatment. The latter is done
through agreements with local doctors and hospitals
The home-grown CSR model that are reimbursed by the project once patients have
availed treatment.
The home-grown CSR model is primarily charac-
terized by relational value chain governance that
exists between a European brand and its supplier in The fair trade model
Sialkot. In this model, the CSR aspect of chain
governance does not primarily take place through The fair trade model of chain and production
the implementation of codes of conduct or labour organization is also characterized by relational chain
standards but instead through a social investment governance ties between a small fair trade brand that
project. Although workers in this model continue to has carved out a niche for itself in the European
be paid on a piece-rate, and do not have the full legal market and its local supplier in Sialkot. In this
benefits under labour law (such as formal social model, the CSR aspect of chain governance takes
security, pension fund or bonus payments), they are, place through standards for fair trade footballs.
however, provided with a range of social support. A special feature is that a higher premium is paid for
This is aimed at improving their welfare and each ball stitched, which, in theory, secures a higher
reducing worker turnover rates for the supplier. The return to workers, while 20% of the fair trade pre-
costs of social provisioning within this model are mium is to be invested in community development
equally borne by the European brand and the Sialkot projects that benefit in-house workers and the
supplier, and, uniquely, the local supplier is fully in stitchers working in the centres of the company
charge of designing and implementing the pro- outside factory premises. Decisions on allocations of
gramme which is why we call it the ‘home-grown’ this premium are made by a separate NGO with
model. representatives from both management and workers.
The home-grown CSR model arose from a However, fair trade accounts for a small share of
house-to-house survey in some of the villages that production, not only in the Sialkot cluster but also
had a concentration of stitchers who were mainly with this specific supplier. Less than 10% of the
stitching for the Sialkot supplier to the European Sialkot ‘fair trade’ supplier’s production of footballs
brand. According to the survey, stitchers reported is done under the fair trade arrangement given the
taking advance payments from subcontractors, as prevailing limited international demand for fair trade
income generated from stitching footballs was not footballs.
sufficient to cover medical emergencies, or pay for The fair trade model was designed through a
children’s school fees, books and uniforms. As a detailed assessment of what constituted a fair living
result, many stitchers had accumulated significant wage for a football stitcher in Pakistan. The outcome
amounts of debt. As their main social priorities, the of this assessment was that a fair living wage would
stitchers identified financial assistance to pay educa- be PKR 6000 per month. This would ensure that all
tional and medical expenditures, followed by repair basic necessities were covered while some funds
work at home, dowry for the girls, toilets, a pump, could still be saved. This was used to calculate what
fans, electricity meter and other household durables. fair stitching wages would be. Fair stitching wages
A social protection programme was developed for were determined to be more than PKR 4000 per
the stitchers of the European brand/the Sialkot month, assuming that orders are constantly available.
supplier on the basis of the survey findings. This Two workers per stitching family would be required
programme included the provision of a subsidy to per month to reach the fair trade minimum.
212 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

The formal factory model management computer-aided tracking system makes

it possible to trace exactly which worker stitched a
In sharp contrast to the models of production specific Nike football, the date and time that work
arrangement described above, where stitching, the was done, the remuneration to that worker as well as
most labour-intensive task in football manufacture, is details on the worker’s background, age and overall
undertaken by contract workers in designated wage and other benefits.
stitching centres located across a wide area in Sialkot In Table II below, we summarize how the
and its environs, a new mode of production restructuring of GVC ties in the Sialkot and Jalan-
arrangement is emerging. The formal factory model dhar football clusters has led to the variety of
describes the relationship between Nike and CSR-driven production models introduced in both
Silverstar, its main supplier in Sialkot since 2007. clusters.
This is marked by captive chain governance between As seen in Table II, the most significant difference
Nike and its OEM supplier. The critical difference between the Sialkot and the Jalandhar football
in contrast to other leading brands is that Nike re- clusters in terms of GVC ties is that some suppliers in
quires that all production-related work is undertaken the Sialkot cluster are linked into chains with the
in-house, within the factory’s premises. Moreover, mega-brands, Nike and Adidas, whereas the top-tier
all the workers have to be waged permanent (as buyers in Jalandhar include medium-sized to smaller
opposed to contract) employees. This gives, in brands, such as the UK-based Pentland Group (the
principle, access to a set of labour rights under na- Mitre brand), or French brand Decathlon. Obvi-
tional labour laws including social security, health ously, both clusters also partly share similar GVC
insurance and employee old-age benefits. The piece- ties. From medium-sized to smaller sports brands and
rate system is abolished and replaced by a fixed rate to non-branded sports buyers source footballs in
system with added bonus incentives for higher both Sialkot and Jalandhar. Similarly, there are a
productivity. Moreover, in the formal factory number of East European and Third World buyers –
model, ILO Conventions 87 and 98 should be fully both traditional sports and non-sports buyers –
abided by the factory to secure freedom of associa- which source training and promotional balls from
tion and collective bargaining. These rights of the two clusters. However, the presence of Nike and
workers are to be established through worker– Adidas in Sialkot and their absence in Jalandhar is
management dialogue on workers’ conditions and significant to the extent that these global brands
worker grievances. There has to be extensive account for approximately 60% of world sales of
internal and independent third-party monitoring of footballs and are closely monitored by advocacy
compliance and production. In addition to internal groups around the world. As such, they cannot
and third party monitors, Nike’s agent in Pakistan, afford to have their brands associated with child
Matrix Sourcing, have the responsibility for CSR labour, and their CSR enforcement and monitoring
monitoring in Silverstar. Finally, a human resource procedures are relatively stricter in Sialkot than those

Global value chain governance and CSR in Sialkot and Jalandhar

Industrial cluster Sialkot Jalandhar

Top-tier buyers Mega-brands (Nike/Adidas) Medium-sized/smaller sports brands

Main product Match balls Promotional balls
Restructuring of GVC ties Extensive Limited
Dominant form of football stitching Centre-based work Home-based Work
Other CSR based models of production Home-grown CSR model None
Fair trade model
Formal factory model
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 213

faced by the top-tier Jalandhar producers. Added to governance and also competing norms/values in
this, Sialkot mostly specializes in the production of terms of what constitutes appropriate forms of work
top-end matchballs that are used by national teams and desired social benefits linked to football stitching.
and by national and regional football leagues, media In Sialkot, the formal factory model is linked to
attention and individual sponsorship contracts of Nike’s preference for factory-type production where
which are worth millions of dollars. This contrasts quality and work conditions are easier to control.
with the sale of promotional balls from Jalandhar, Here the local supplier is linked into a captive chain
which are not used in high profile, media-attractive, with Nike where the latter largely dictates what is to
professional matches. be produced, how, when, at what price and under
The presence of these global brands in Sialkot is what work conditions. The fair trade model, how-
significant in explaining how the cluster has moved ever, is based on an alternative vision where the local
away from home-production towards a stitching- supplier is linked into a relational chain with
centre based model of producing footballs. How- Northern buyers where stitching takes place
ever, while football stitching is mostly done inside according to the stitching centre model. Here, the
football centres in Sialkot today, this does not imply main focus is on institutionalizing an alternative
that all home-based stitching of footballs has been form of trade that mainly benefits the stitchers in
entirely eliminated within the cluster. While no terms of securing an above market rate price per
official numbers on the extent of home-based football while empowering football stitchers through
football stitching in Sialkot exist, there is still a the establishing of joint decision-making bodies that
domestic market for promotional and training decide how part of the price-premium for fair trade
footballs in Pakistan, some third-world buyers, and footballs should be distributed. Finally, the ‘home-
non-sport, less CSR-sensitive buyers in Europe and grown’ CSR model is based on an approach that is
North America, which source footballs from local grounded in a bottom-up view of how the GVC
suppliers that are not members of the AA. Never- should be structured. While recognizing the need to
theless, an important difference between the Sialkot comply with external CSR demands of buyers fol-
and Jalandhar clusters is that home-based stitching lowing the stitching centre model, the buyer has
continues to be the dominant mode of production handed over responsibility for CSR implementation
organization in Jalandhar. While a limited number of to its local supplier. The CSR approach is based
stitching centres have been established by a few upon an on-site identification of needs of stitchers
Jalandhar’s top-tier suppliers, even these top-tier and their households. Educational and health secu-
suppliers have a substantial part of their balls stitched rity benefits were amongst the top issues prioritized
in home-based locations. In terms of the relationship by such stitchers. This contrasts with Nike’s objec-
between GVC governance and CSR within the tives that labour rights are addressed through
cluster, this means that it is relatively more difficult implementing full legal labour and social benefits in
in the Jalandhar cluster to monitor against child the formal factory model.
labour than in Sialkot.
Finally, in terms of the spread of buyer–supplier
CSR models within both clusters, Sialkot has wit- Local cluster governance and CSR
nessed more experimentation with other models
of production organization than Jalandhar. While The previous section has shown how GVC gover-
individual suppliers are engaged in philanthropic nance pressures, specifically with respect to child
projects in Jalandhar (such as company-run hospitals labour, led to changes in patterns of production
and the provision of student scholarships), these arrangements in both clusters. This is especially
reflect the individual commitment of entrepreneurs pronounced in Sialkot from where the leading global
to CSR in Jalandhar, and not external CSR pressure. brands source premium hand-stitched footballs. We
While similar acts of philanthropy are also undertaken now turn to the role of local cluster governance, and
by individual entrepreneurs in Sialkot, the emergence its importance in addressing external CSR concerns,
of some new CSR models in the cluster can directly specifically implementing the AA and developing
be related back to both different types of value chain effective child labour monitoring mechanisms.
214 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

Local cluster governance played an important part response to this challenge, the cluster’s 25 leading
in both clusters in response to the initial challenge on football manufacturers formed the Sports Good
child labour. The Sialkot Chamber of Commerce Federation of India (SGFI) in 1999 as a non-profit
and Industry (SCCI), the leading trade body in the entity devoted to the prevention and rehabilitation
Sialkot cluster, took the lead in co-ordinating of child labour in the Jalandhar cluster. SGFI then
the cluster’s response, mobilizing support from the negotiated with the World Federation of Sports
central government and taking an active part in Goods Industry (WFSGI), ILO and SCF to imple-
the formulation of the AA. The SCCI was one of ment a similar monitoring and social protection
the core signatories to the AA and undertook to programme as that developed in Sialkot for the
co-finance 23% of the total costs associated with Jalandhar cluster. Although the international actors
implementing the ILO–IPEC’s child labour moni- were ready to undertake this agenda – with funding
toring mechanism.8 This sum, of US$ 221,700, was from the US Department of Labor – the government
raised by SCCI through a levy on its football man- of India intervened to stop external monitoring by
ufacturing member firms who joined the ILO–IPEC the ILO. With funding from FIFA, SGFI then
monitoring system. While the actual implementation obtained the services of SGS to carry out the mon-
of the monitoring and social protection components itoring system as the external third party monitors.
of the AA were undertaken by external actors, SCCI Unlike the much larger social protection programme
continued to be a co-ordinating actor for the local in Sialkot, which was in excess of US$ 2 million
industry, liaising with the AA programme imple- over the period 1997–2004 and funded almost solely
mentation team as the representative body for local by donors, the social protection component of the
industry (Lund-Thomsen and Nadvi, 2009). While programme in Jalandhar was smaller in scale (US$
the SCCI represented all manufacturing industries in 208,000 from 2004 to 2006) and financed entirely by
Sialkot, football producers as the leading exporters local producers through the SGFI (Lund-Thomsen
from the region played a central if not dominant role and Nadvi, 2009).
in the workings of the chamber. Furthermore, the Local cluster institutions were key to the devel-
issue of child labour was recognized as a challenge opment of collective responses in both clusters,
for all of Sialkot’s export-oriented small firm clusters. articulating the collective interests of local suppliers,
These diverse clusters had already, through the negotiating on behalf of the cluster and providing
SCCI, collaborated on a number of cross-cluster significant financial contributions towards the
joint action initiatives. This included the setting up implementation of the child labour monitoring and
and financing of a dry port in Sialkot in the early social protection agenda. We now turn to a more
1990s – the first of its kind in Pakistan, to facilitate detailed analysis of how the local monitoring system
export procedures and reduce transport and storage evolved, and its implications for local cluster gov-
costs for local producers. More recently, the SCCI ernance.
spearheaded the campaign and funding for the Two types of monitoring were conducted in both
establishment of Sialkot’s international airport – clusters: internal monitoring by the manufacturers,
again the first such undertaking by the private sector and external monitoring by independent third par-
in Pakistan. ties. Independent monitoring was through the ILO–
The relatively smaller cluster of Jalandhar also had IPEC programme in Sialkot during the period
a representative cluster trade body, the Sports Goods 1997–2003 and in Jalandhar by Swiss firm SGS from
Manufacturers and Exporters Association (SGMEA). 1999 to 2003. After 2003, when donor funding for
However, the Jalandhar sports good sector was more external monitoring initiatives came to an end, local
sharply divided than Sialkot between separate pro- institutions took over the monitoring functions. An
ducers engaged in the manufacture of footballs, independent ‘not-for-profit’ NGO was formed in
cricket bats and equipment, and other sports goods. Sialkot to address ILO–IPEC’s monitoring tasks.
The divergent interests of these manufacturers led to This organization, the Independent Association for
a fragmented view within the cluster in terms of Monitoring and Child Labour (IMAC), incorpo-
how to respond to the allegations of child labour. rated most of the ILO–IPEC local monitoring staff,
In order to articulate a more effective collective assets, and monitoring procedures. In Jalandhar,
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 215

SGFI took over from SGS to provide child labour more units than IMAC; yet it has less than half the
monitoring for its member firms. manpower to undertake this task. Fourth, whereas
The child labour monitoring mechanisms in both IMAC updates its database of stitching centres,
clusters continue to function along similar lines to contractors and stitchers every month, the database
those initially developed under the AA. However, as of the SGFI has not been updated on a regular basis
Table III shows, there are a number of differences after the end of the last decade. Hence, ‘old’
between the monitoring mechanisms in Sialkot and locations where footballs used to be stitched con-
Jalandhar. These raise questions about the relative tinue to be registered as locations in the SGFI
capacity of both IMAC and SGFI to monitor child database whereas new locations are not con-
labour in their respective clusters, and more broadly tinuously updated, making it more difficult to track
about the dynamics of local cluster governance. and monitor all the stitching locations. Finally,
There are important differences between the there is greater public access to information about
institutional frameworks of the two industrial clus- IMAC’s monitoring procedures and performance
ters for child labour monitoring. First, IMAC has a than the access to similar information on SGFI’s
larger membership in Sialkot than SGFI has in monitoring activities. Interested parties can find
Jalandhar. In part, this is a reflection of the relative detailed explanation of IMAC’s functions, monthly
scale of the Sialkot cluster vis-à-vis the Jalandhar monitoring updates, and the presence of children
cluster. Second, IMAC’s board includes a diverse found stitching (see In
body of stakeholders, from local industry, interna- contrast, on the SGFI Website (http://www.sgfi.
tional organizations, government agencies, academia org), there is a lack of detailed information on its
to civil society organizations. In contrast, SGFI’s child monitoring system or the progress achieved
board is entirely dominated by manufacturers from to date.
the Jalandhar football cluster. The presence of di- In sum, although local cluster governance does
verse stakeholders implies that IMAC needs to matter, especially in articulating each clusters’
balance the interests of different groups within the response to the child labour challenge, the nature
cluster. In contrast, SGFI being dominated by the of monitoring in the two clusters raise doubts on
industry allows it to respond more quickly to the strength and effectiveness of local governance.
industry concerns. However, the fact that it is not The Jalandhar example, in spite of being a collec-
institutionally independent from industry can lead tive industry monitoring model, does not have the
to doubts on the reliability and quality of the same degree of independence, and thus, it poten-
information that it provides about its monitoring tially lacks the same degree of credibility, as that
and social protection activities. Third, football observed in Sialkot. This is further underlined by
stitching in Jalandhar remains predominantly a the differing levels of staffing provided for moni-
home-based activity. Hence, SGFI has to monitor toring in each cluster.

Child labour monitoring: the Sialkot and Jalandhar clusters compared

Post 2003 child labour monitoring Sialkot Jalandhar

Local monitoring institution IMAC SGFI

Governance structure Multi-stakeholder board Industry-based
Members 88 30
Number of stitching locations monitored 2655 Units 3300 Units
Number of monitors 12 5
Frequency of monitoring 6 Weeks 13 Weeks
Database maintenance Extensive Limited
Public information access High Low
216 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

GVC governance or local cluster governance There are, however, some important distinctions
– which one dominates the CSR response in the notion that both vertical and horizontal
in the Sialkot and Jalandhar clusters? governance mattered. Horizontal governance ap-
pears to be more effective and pronounced, when
The interaction between GVC governance and vertical GVC pressures are sustained over time. At
local cluster governance has resulted in different the outset of the child labour ‘crisis’, local cluster
approaches to institutionalizing compliance in the institutions – SCCI in Sialkot and SGFI in Jalandhar
Sialkot and Jalandhar football clusters. In Sialkot, – played an important part in ensuring that a col-
CSR demands of international buyers, the threat of lective strategy was developed and that a commit-
boycotts and sustained scrutiny from international ment, certainly a financial commitment, was made in
media and advocacy NGOs were instrumental in each cluster to address the child labour issue. Simi-
bringing about a transition from home-based to larly, the 2006 pull-out of Nike from Saga Sports led
centre-based stitching of footballs. In addition, new IMAC to promote the use of larger stitching centres
practices related to fair trade, which we call ‘home- and publicize the number of children found in its
grown CSR’ and factory-based production, emerged members’ stitching centres on a monthly basis.
in response to CSR pressures. In Jalandhar, where the Shortly afterwards, in 2008, media reports about the
cluster’s main buyers tend to be less-dominant brands, continued use of child stitchers in the Jalandhar
CSR compliance did not imply a radical restructuring football industry prompted some of SGFI’s produ-
of production arrangements. At the same time, GVC cers to start the process of registering their stitching
pressures and the presence of a tradition for collective units again. Hence, the local child labour monitoring
action in Sialkot in areas prioritized by the local bodies in both clusters continue to provide a basis for
entrepreneurs appear to facilitate the development of collective action but in instances where local cluster
a potentially stronger cluster-wide child labour governance dominates, which appears to be the case
monitoring mechanism in Sialkot than in Jalandhar. in Jalandhar, producers have fewer incentives to
At the outset, we asked the respondents if vertical retain a relatively more independent and stronger
chain governance or horizontal cluster governance monitoring mechanism as is the case in Sialkot.
determined the nature and effectiveness of the Hence, the nature of a cluster’s GVC ties appear
cluster responses to CSR demands on child labour. important in ensuring that local cluster-based insti-
Our study indicates that both the GVC ties and local tutions sustain strong collective CSR monitoring
cluster institutions played a part. Horizontal cluster mechanisms over time.
governance was central to the ability of local pro- Nevertheless, in some instances local cluster
ducers to organize collective action and implement governance is replaced by GVC governance. For
the framework of the AA. Such forms of local example, Adidas relies on its own sourcing and CSR
horizontal governance continue to be important office in Sialkot as well as third-party compliance
with regard to the ways in which local monitoring inspectors to monitor its suppliers in Sialkot. At the
mechanisms have evolved in the two clusters. At the same time, the fact that a leading brand such as Nike
same time, vertical chain governance especially has opted for factory-based production where it can
where leading brands have captive governance ties more effectively monitor against child labour sug-
with their suppliers was critical in determining how gests an on-going fear that the existing monitoring
production is organized in such ways that labour can capabilities of IMAC in Sialkot do not provide
be more easily monitored. This is more pronounced sufficient insurance for Nike that its supply chain
in the Sialkot cluster where home-based stitching has will be effectively monitored against child labour.
systematically given way to centre-based work. Instead, Nike’s decision to require that its new
Moreover, Nike’s adoption of an integrated factory- suppliers in Sialkot must shift their production
based model of production with permanent waged arrangements to a factory context with permanent-
labour by its lead supplier suggests an attempt to use waged employees suggests that for the leading brands
GVC ties to push further on CSR-related labour vertical chain governance remains the dominant
standards while reducing the risks to the brand of basis for ensuring compliance with their CSR
non-compliance by its suppliers. norms.
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 217

This question underlines what Neilson and Conclusion

Pritchard (2009) note that the outcome of the
interplay between vertical chain governance and In this article, we have examined the relationship
horizontal cluster governance is not necessarily pre- between GVC governance and local cluster gover-
determined. Rather it emerges out of a contextu- nance in facilitating compliance with international
ally specific struggle between these diverse pres- CSR standards within the two leading soccer ball
sures. Our study suggests that the CSR-related clusters of South Asia: Sialkot in Pakistan and
cluster development initiatives need to negotiate Jalandhar in India. While there are a number of
between the potentially conflicting needs of pro- commonalities across the two clusters, most notably
moting local cluster governance and addressing in terms of the CSR challenges on child labour,
global chain governance concerns. In this regard, there are also some stark differences – especially with
we observed in both clusters a fundamental dis- respect to scale, to types of lead buyers and domi-
agreement between some local exporters and nant forms of production organization. Hence, the
international brands/advocacy organizations not interplay between horizontal and vertical gover-
only as to whether child labour constitutes a nance has been varied – over time, across the two
problem per se, but also about whether the clusters, and within each cluster resulting in quite
developmental outcomes of eradicating child labour distinct outcomes in terms of child labour moni-
within the clusters are positive or negative for the toring practices as well as forms of work organiza-
local industry and its workers. According to some tion. Our analysis suggests that there is a role for
manufacturers that we interviewed, the ‘imposition both vertical chain and horizontal cluster governance
of the child labour issue’ had not only increased the approaches to addressing CSR monitoring within
industry’s cost structure, but also denied children clusters. The relative strength of the cluster-based
the opportunity to learn the skill of stitching and CSR-monitoring mechanisms in Sialkot and Jalan-
forced many home-based women workers out of dhar appear to depend upon the toughness of pres-
the workforce as a result of the introduction of the sures from internationally branded buyers and the
stitching centre system. Hence, while removal of presence and/or absence of strong collective action
children from their supply chains was necessary to institutions within these clusters, which can facilitate
avoid an international boycott, some manufacturers the implementation of such monitoring mechanisms.
did not appear to believe that the implementation A particularly interesting finding emerging from
of the AA had either benefitted them or workers our study is that the dominant focus on eradicating
within the industry. child labour from the Sialkot and Jalandhar football
These ‘local views’ may reflect the broader trend clusters appears to have overshadowed other, and
where CSR compliance in GVCs is mostly per- from a labour standards perspective, more significant
ceived by both international brands and local consequences of the interplay between global gover-
exporters as a risk management tool that does not nance and local governance attempts at facilitating
necessarily translate into improved economic returns CSR compliance within the clusters: the emergence
to either local producers or workers. It raises the of new forms of work organization and individual
broader question of whether, and if so, how cluster- CSR models. True, the interplay between vertical and
wide CSR interventions can achieve a greater level horizontal governance has played a key role in the
of local embeddeness. To do so may imply moving attempts of both clusters to eradicate child labour from
beyond a risk management function towards secur- football manufacturing through the introduction of
ing more meaningful returns to local enterprises and CSR, particularly child labour, monitoring mecha-
workers within the cluster. The limited example of nisms. However, it is not these CSR-monitoring
the ‘home-grown’ CSR model of organization may mechanisms in their own right but rather the intro-
suggest a way forward building on existing philan- duction of new work forms and CSR models within
thropic practices based on entrepreneurial paternal- both clusters, which might affect the work conditions
ism. However, even in that model, as currently of football stitchers in Sialkot and Jalandhar.
practised, workers are contract labourers with lim- This is a particular area that clearly deserves further
ited labour rights. analysis and research. We have little knowledge about
218 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

the outcomes for stitching workers across the two women to access paid work, the introduction of
clusters, and within each cluster in terms of the dif- factory-based and centre-based forms of football
ferent models of work organization. While this con- stitching might have the unintended consequence of
stitutes a central part of our current research agenda, creating greater income inequalities between male
we are now able to develop a number of interlinked and female football stitchers. Our fourth and final
hypotheses about the links between participation in hypothesis is that the football stitchers are not just
factory-based, centre-based, and home-based football affected by the introduction of these new work
stitching and the work conditions under which forms, they might also consciously self-select in and
football stitchers labour in Sialkot and Jalandhar. First, out from participation in factory-based, centre-based,
on the basis of our on-going fieldwork in the Jalandhar and home-based forms of stitching. In other words, it
and Sialkot clusters, we believe that stitchers may re- may not be directly possible to draw conclusions such
ceive higher wages from participating in factory-based as ‘factory-based football stitchers will be better off
forms of football stitching than centre-based football than home-based stitchers because their earnings are
stitching. In turn, those stitching footballs in centres likely to be significantly higher’. While the intro-
are likely to receive higher wages than home-based duction of factory-based and centre-based forms of
football stitching. In other words, as we move from work do appear to restrict the access of female
more formal work settings towards more informal stitchers to paid work, both female and male stitchers
work settings, the earnings that stitchers receive from may prefer lower earnings in cases where they also
football stitching will tend to decrease. Second, we engage in other forms of paid work, have other
hypothesize that we will experience a similar move- family members generating sufficient income, or
ment when it comes to the social protection afforded domestic duties such as child rearing that might
to football stitchers. In other words, stitchers engaged prevent them from taking up a full-time 9–5 job in
in factory-based football stitching are more likely to the factory. Hence, the flexibility of work timings
have health insurance, pension schemes, and receive and the ability to manage their own work schedule
unemployment benefits than centre-based stitchers, may be more important to some home-based
some of whom may receive some coverage through stitchers than generating a higher income.
particular CSR models (the fair trade or home-grown
models). However, in the informal economy, social
protection is likely to be absent for the home-based
football stitchers. Our third hypothesis is that the
introduction of factory-based and centre-based forms 1
Blowfeld and Frynas (2005, p. 503) describe CSR as
of football stitching are likely to have particular gender a set of practices that reflect three distinct concerns for
implications. Due to the traditional division of labour companies: first, their need to be aware and take
that exists, particularly in Pakistani Punjab, men are responsibility for the impact of their activities on soci-
often considered responsible for financially supporting ety; second, that companies need to be concerned about
their families while women are in charge of domestic the actions and practices of those from whom they
household duties. Hence, we expect that the factory- source, in particular their dispersed supply chains; and
based model of football stitching with its emphasis on a finally that companies ‘need to manage their relation-
full-time, a 9–5 working day will favour the partici- ship with wider society’.
pation of men to a greater extent than women. Due Debates on CSR and socially responsible business
to their greater proximity to the homes of football have focused on philanthropic measures by corporate
actors, to an interest in viewing poor communities
stitchers, we expect stitching centres with flexible
as critical customers at ‘the bottom of the pyramid’
work timings to have a more balanced participation of
(Frynas, 2008). There are also concerns, especially
men and women. At the same time, we would expect amongst sceptics, that CSR initiatives essentially seek
home-based football stitching to be dominated by to mitigate risks for global brands, providing a public
female stitchers as this might provide them with relations fig leaf to hide dubious sourcing practices
greater possibilities for combining domestic house- (Christian Aid, 2004; Jenkins, 2002).
hold duties such as child rearing with the possibility of In this context, it is worthwhile noting that
earning a living. Hence, in terms of the ability of collective action amongst industrialists has also been
Clusters, Chains and Compliance 219

accounted for using the concept of ‘collective institu- responsibility approach to ethical supply chain manage-
tional entrepreneurship’. Institutional entrepreneurship ment may be more appropriate in industries that have re-
involves purposeful actors, employing their political and cently been exposed to CSR demands. In the case of the
social skills to engineer change in a given context or is- football industry, internationally branded firms have been
sue area. To the extent that institutional entrepreneur- exposed to CSR compliance pressures for more than
ship is highly complex and involves large numbers of 15 years. Hence, many firms in this industry, particularly
widely dispersed actors, joint action based on mutual Nike and Adidas, have already adopted a pro-active ap-
interests may become the way in which these actors proach to engaging their stakeholders. However, anec-
overcome collective inaction with the view to trans- dotal evidence from our study suggests that sports brands
forming existing or creating new institutions based in the United States may be more prone to adopt a
(Wijen and Ansari, 2007). In this article, we consciously universal ethical strategy whereas European brands tend
employ the term industrial clusters as the possibilities for to use either a multi-dimensional strategy or situate
local collective action that we are studying arise to a themselves in the middle ground between universal and
large degree out of the promixity of a large number of multi-dimensional approaches.
private and public actors within a confined geographical We have mapped the events surrounding Nike’s pull-
space. This is different from the idea of collective insti- out and subsequent re-entry into the Sialkot cluster in a
tutional entrepreneurship that envisages collaboration previous publication (Lund-Thomsen and Nadvi, 2009).
amongst a large number of widely dispersed actors. After its pull-out, Nike specified a number of CSR
In addition, the imposition of ethical guidelines in requirements for its re-entry (i.e. choice of a new Sialkot-
GVCs is often criticized for being a top-down approach based supplier), which we outline as the factory-based
as codes tend to be formulated in corporate headquar- model in this article. However, as we also explain, the Nike
ters in North America or Europe without any input pull-out did not succeed in producing any substantive ef-
from the intended beneficiaries – suppliers and workers fects in the transformation or creation of new cluster-based
in the developing world (De Neve, 2009). This means institutions to address a wider set of CSR-compliance-
that issues prioritized in such codes tend to reflect based issues within the cluster. Part of the reason might
the concerns of consumer, NGOs, and trade unions in have been Nike’s decision to re-enter Sialkot relatively
the West, while the livelihood and social protection soon after its pull-out, thus reducing the pressure on clus-
concerns of workers in export-oriented industries in ter-based actors to address the concerns raised by Nike.
the developing world are often overlooked (Lund- It should be noted here that we are using the ‘stitch-
Thomsen, 2008). ing centre’ here to refer to a building with a roof in
In a subsequent study, Tulder et al. (2009) have fur- which stitching takes place. In IMAC’s terminology, a
ther developed the argument that the home country of stitching centre can refer to any location, whether inside
multinational enterprises plays a role for the way in or outside, where five or more stitchers gather together.
which these companies transmit CSR compliance pres- In the case of female stitching centre, only three ladies are
sures throughout their GVCs. In distinguishing between required to gather together before it can be called a
a liability and a responsibility approach to ethical supply stitching centre in IMAC’s view (Dogar, 2004).
chain management, Tulder et al. state that some buyers The remainder of the costs associated with the ILO–
adopt a more inactive or reactive response to stakeholder IPEC programme were borne by the US Department
demands for increased CSR compliance, resulting in of Labour through a grant to the ILO.
confrontational forms of stakeholder interaction and/or
evasion. In the responsibility approach, buyers adopt a
more active or even pro-active approach that involves
the broadening of the circle of actors involved in stan- Acknowledgments
dard formulation and implementation, thus speeding up
the process of change and facilitating greater compliance This article draws on a study commissioned by the Uni-
with CSR standards. In their study of the implementa- ted Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UN-
tion of occupational health and safety requirements in the IDO), Vienna, and a study funded by the Danish Social
supply chains of leading branded firms in the United Science Research Council. The authors are grateful for
States, Europe, and Japan, Tulder et al. conclude that the comments on earlier drafts from Michele Clara, Mukesh
European firms are more used to ensuring stakeholder Gulhati, Stefano Ponte and by anonymous referees. The
involvement which helps them secure greater levels of conclusions presented here do not reflect in any way on
compliance with their CSR standards. However, in our thinking within UNIDO and the authors are solely
assessment, the distinction between a liability and a responsible for all errors.
220 Peter Lund-Thomsen and Khalid Nadvi

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