Home    What's new    Search    Contact Us   Sign in / Register
· You are here: Home • Our work • Schools and education » • School Members Area » • Global perspectives, geopolitics and development »
About us Our work What's on Geography today Press & Media News Join us
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
An introduction to Superpower Geographies
A new recipe for economic development
A Shrinking World
Aid and influence
Arab awakening
Baby steps for China
Building a nation: South Sudan one year on
Building BRICS
Cars: The global business of Britain is back on track
Celebrating new appropriate technology
China and North Korea: Regional economic cooperation
Chocolate spread over
Credit Crunch Geography
Factors influencing the success of pastoral farming in developing countries
Fast Food Farmers
Fast Food Geography
Follow the thing: Papaya
Geography, power and the Olympics
Global flows
Global motorization, social ecology and China
Global production networks
Hello South Sudan
India - Change and challenge for a new superpower
Inequality and its management
Kinky boots
Life transitions and care in sibling-headed households affected by AIDS in Tanzania and Uganda
Making music in the global economy
Measuring International Corruption and its Impacts
Rio+20: A global evaluation of sustainable development
Supermarket Sweep
Surfs up!
The BRICs are coming: Will Brazil ever arrive?
The Congo Wars: geography NOT in the news
The Deepwater Horizon, the Mavi Marmara, and the dynamic zonation of ocean space
The geography of gold
The horsemeat scandal and other food geographies
Two views on the growth of China
The Nicaraguan trans-oceanic canal
International Women’s Day 2017
The US presidential election 2016
What is Brexit? The UK and EU relationship 2017

Global production networks

May 2011

Investigating the interconnections and ethics of global manufacturing

Global production networks

Increasing numbers of transnational corporations (TNCs) are attempting to run their overseas operations on a more ethical basis, sometimes even gaining FairTrade status. However, it is still the case that many labourers in lower-income countries (some of whom would be classed as school-age in the UK) remain poorly treated.

One important reason for this is that products ranging from laptops to trainers are rarely built by a single company working alone anymore. Instead, businesses all over the world collaborate in the assembly of consumer goods.

This article explains how this model of global trade works – and why, as a result of global production networks, it is very difficult for ethically-minded high-street shoppers to always be sure that they are making truly ethical purchases.

This article explores what is meant by the phrase ‘global production network’ and explains why it is an important unit of analysis for globalisation studies alongside single-firm case studies of TNCs. Special attention is paid to the ethics of globalisation and the treatment of factory workers. The case studies provided develop the important themes for A-level globalisation & development studies that were examined in “fast food farmers” (2009).


  • AS/A2/IB teaching of development issues linked with trade (AQA), global interactions and out-sourcing (IB) and ethics of globalisation (Edexcel)
  • GCSE teaching of industrial employment and development issues
  • KS3 exploration of interdependency between people and places – and thinking critically about how people’s lives are affected by the world economy and globalisation

In the Members' Area:

  • What are global production networks?
  • What are the ethics of global production networks?
  • A-level / International Baccalaureate HL activity

Sign in to read the full article. If you are not already a member you can join us as a School Member or Young Geographer and access our vast library of educational articles.


· Accessibility statement
· Terms and Conditions, and Cookie use
· Contact Webmaster
· Download Adobe Reader
· RGS-IBG is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Bookmark and Share