SME's are acknowledged as effective sources of jobs and incomes, gaining an important position in the development agenda, subsequently 'cluster' policies were conceived as a framework to augment the effects of SMEs and to optimize resources used to support them. Based on case studies from Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, this volume examines SME clusters and argues that unless they counteract common problems such as very low wages, poor working conditions, poor quality products and lack or environmental regulation, they will be pushed out of the market and so become unsustainable. This book suggests that the SME clusters currently being stretched should react by 'socially upgrading' in order to improve their innovation capacity, as well as social, environmental and labour standards. It puts forward conceptual frameworks which explain the way firms can upgrade: through markets, interaction among cluster members, through Corporate Social Responsibility and other such public policy, and through the better enforcement of regulation.
'Markets are growing increasingly demanding in terms of social, environmental and labour standards, which poses a challenge to firms that are not prepared to ensure compliance. This book sheds light on how clustered firms respond to this challenge and outlines how public policy and insertion into global value chains affects their capacity to comply and compete.' Giovanna Ceglie, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna 'Yes, there are many ways to improve the economic, social and environmental conditions around clusters, but most traditional approaches rely on piecemeal actions and on naÃ¯ve assumptions about the power of markets or the good intentions of well meaning businesses and governments. This book is about upgrading the upgrading, presenting a comprehensive AND sustainable approach.' Antonio Vives, Former Manager, Sustainable Development, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and creator of the Inter-American Conferences on CSR 'This book brings to light how savvy actors have (or could) tweak the dynamics of tensions, conflicts and resistance to work in favor of social upgrading, instead of against it - one of the book's most refreshing and important contributions.' Judith Tendler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Contents: Preface; Introduction: social upgrading among small firms and clusters, Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira; Seeking the high road to Jepara: challenges for economic and social upgrading in Indonesian wood furniture clusters, Anne Caroline Posthuma; Environmental upgrading of industrial clusters: understanding their connections with global chains in the Brazilian furniture sector, Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira; Social upgrading in agriculture-based clusters: common lessons from cases in Asia and Latin America, Octavio Damiani; Small firms in the Indian software clusters: building global competitiveness, Aya Okada; Understanding incentives for clustered firms to control pollution: the case of the jeans laundries in Toritama, Pernambuco, Brazil, Mansueto Almeida; Social technology for mobilization of local productive arrangements: a proposal for applicability, Ana Silvia Rocha Ipiranga, Maria Vilma Coelho Moreira Faria and MÃ´nica Alves Amorim; Conclusions: lessons from the cases, Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira; Index.