What is a “local” food chain as opposed to a “global” chain? Are local food chains more sustainable than global chains? In the context of market globalization and the proliferation of local alternatives, these questions have taken on a new aspect, which has been addressed by the GLAMUR (Global and Local food chain Assessment: a Multidimensional performance-based approach) project. Using an analysis of three archetypal wine chains in the south of France, and considering food chains as embedded social constructions, we will first attempt to objectivize which aspects of wine are local, and which are global, using a multidimensional analytical approach. As local vs.
global characteristics seem to be strategic assets or constraints, and not structural components, we will then outline an evaluative approach to wine chain sustainability by valuing qualitative indicators to be scored and benchmarked by experts. We will discuss our findings from a scientific and operational perspective by highlighting how a local vs.
global approach produces new sustainability issues and practical solutions. Nevertheless, as concrete chains often mix global and local characteristics, further research must be done in order to assess how this combination may be sustainable for different types of actors, depending on their values, capacities, networks and constraints.
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