Dr. David Bek

David is a Research Fellow within the Centre for Business in Society. He has experience of working in a range of institutional settings including local government, private consultancy, small business and university Geography Departments and Business Schools. Such diverse experiences have enabled him to develop broad ranging networks and inherent understandings of the dynamics of multi-stakeholder environments. His research experience includes undertaking work on social capital formation via Multi-National Corporation CSR programmes, analysing the dynamics of local labour markets and market town regeneration in East Anglia and evaluating social empowerment initiatives in the South African wine industry. During the last five years David has worked with Professor Cheryl McEwan and Dr. Alex Hughes at the Universities of Newcastle and Durham on research and impact projects funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the ESRC.  These projects have deployed a cultural-economy approach to enable understanding of the dynamics of ethical trade within commodity supply chains emanating from South Africa. He has also undertaken consultancy work for the South African fruit industry and WWF-South Africa, for whom he has evaluated ethical trade and biodiversity conservation programmes. 

Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals

Books/Book Chapters 

  • Jones, I., Pollit, M., and Bek, D. (2007) Multinationals in their Communities: A social capital approach to corporate citizenship projects. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Bek, D., Binns, T. and Nel, E. (2012) ‘Fair Trade and Alternative Food Networks’. In The Process of Internationalization in Emerging SMEs and Emerging Economies. Ed. by Etemad, H. Montreal: Elgar.


  • 2015-2016: Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account, "Developing and Embedding the Wild Fynbos Harvesting Guide", with Dr Alex Hughes (Principal Investigator).
  • 2013-2014: Economic and Social Research Council (Knowledge Exchange), "Developing Sustainable Wildflower Harvesting for Global Supply Chains" with Dr Alex Hughes (Principal Investigator) and Prof Cheryl McEwan (Co-Investigator).
  • 2013-2014 ‘Investigating the structure of the wild fynbos industry on South Africa’s Agulhas Plain’, with Prof Tony Binns and Thijs Blokker.
  • 2012-2013 ‘Sustainable solar energy for rural development in South Africa’, with Prof Cheryl McEwan (Principal Investigator), Dr Douglas Halliday (Physics), Dr Marek Szablewski (Physics) and Dr Neal Wade (Engineering).
  • 2010-2012: Leverhulme Trust, "Ethical Production in South Africa: Advancing a Cultural Economy Approach”, with  Prof Cheryl McEwan (Principal Investigator) and Dr. Alex Hughes (Co-Investigator). 

Tim Messeder

'Sustainability in Tilapia Exports: The case for Sub-Saharan Africa'