$2.5M funding awarded for global ‘Hidden Costs of Supply Chains’ project

Professor Genevieve LeBaron, co-director of SPERI, is part of an international team of researchers that has received $2.5M for a new seven-year research project ‘The Hidden Costs of Supply Chains: A Global Investigation’

The project, funded by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, will be led by Peter Klein at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Graduate School of Journalism in collaboration with journalism schools around the world; political economy and global governance scholars from five continents; Pulitzer Prize winning reporters and international media organisations

Professor LeBaron is a co-investigator in the partnership which will run until 2025. The other academic co-investigators include Ben Cashore (Yale), Claire Cutler (Victoria), Andrew Crane (Bath), Stefano Ponte (CBS), Peter Dauvergne (UBC), Jamie Peck (UBC), and Jennifer Clapp (Waterloo).

The goal of the project is to bring the hidden costs of global supply chains from the shadows into the mainstream – contributing new knowledge about the winners and losers within the global political economy, and highlighting critical pathways for policy intervention.

Through in-depth research investigation, reporting and original analysis, the project will examine key nodes of the supply chain: from production and manufacturing, to shipping and distribution through to final retail and consumption. All are thematically linked by questions of risk, value distribution and power that underpin the business, politics and economic geography supply chain governance literature. A Creative Commons archive library (housed at UBC) will facilitate the storage and exchange of gathered research and material towards future exploration and resolution of these critically under-reported stories.

Hidden Costs has will work with The New York Times, PBS FRONTLINE, Toronto Star, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC News, and Smithsonian Channel. These partners will provide additional funding and support for reporting projects, and will distribute the content, which will include documentaries, newspaper series and digital projects.

The seven-year-long project will culminate in a travelling exhibit staged in two shipping containers – built in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada – which will travel around North America to key hubs of global commerce.

More information about the project can be found on the Global Reporting Centre here