Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 143, Issue 1, pp 111–131 | Cite as

The Governance of Global Value Chains: Unresolved Human Rights, Environmental and Ethical Dilemmas in the Apple Supply Chain

  • Thomas Clarke
  • Martijn Boersma


The continued advance of global value chains as the mode of production for an increasing number of goods and services has impacted considerably on the economies and societies both of the developed world and the emerging economies. Although there have been many efforts at reform there is evidence of unresolved dilemmas of human rights, environmental issues and ethical dilemmas in the operation of the global value chain. This paper focuses on the role and performance of Apple Inc in the global value chain in Asia. Apple is the most successful corporation on earth measured in financial terms and yet has failed to find a solution to recurrent employment and environmental problems occurring in plants manufacturing Apple components. This analysis informs the current theoretical debate on the development of the global value chain and the continuing institutional failure that leaves employees vulnerable and the environment neglected.


Global value chain Institutional failure Exploitation Ethical dilemmas 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Technology SydneyBroadwayAustralia

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