Research Network
Sustainable Global Supply Chains

A large part of global value creation takes place in global supply chains. These are characterized by specialization of firms in multiple countries in distinct production stages and by their inter-firm relations. Global supply chains affect economies, societies and the environment in many ways. Whether they comply with labour, human rights and environmental standards and to what extent technologies and profits are shared depends on lead firms, but also government regulation and involvement of other stakeholders.

Designing and governing global supply chains in a sustainable way thus requires a detailed understanding of their structures and involved actors as well as policies affecting them.
Learn more about the Network


Research Conference "Sustainability in GVCs" December 7 2021

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De-Globalization and the Future of GVCs

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#Grants: Call for Papers on Sustainability in GVCs

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Launch Event on 9 March 2021

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More News

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New media

New blogs

Integration in global IT value chains does not necessarily improve innovation capacity
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GVCs and COVID-19: Lessons thus far from trade during a global pandemic
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New publications

Carbon emissions from the global land rush and potential mitigation

Global drivers and carbon emissions associated with large-scale land transactions have been poorly investigated. Here we examine major factors behind such transactions (income, agricultural productivity, availability of arable land and water scarcity) and estimate potential carbon emissions under different levels of deforestation. We find that clearing lands transacted between 2000 and 2016 (36.7 Mha) could have emitted ~2.26 GtC, but constraining land clearing to historical deforestation rates would reduce emissions related to large-scale land transactions to ~0.81 GtC.

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Cling together, swing together: the contagious effects of COVID‐19 on developing countries through global value chains

This paper aims at estimating the economic vulnerability of developing countries to disruptions in global value chains (GVCs) due to the COVID‐19 pandemic. It uses trade in value added data for a sample of 12 developing countries in sub‐Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America to assess their dependence on demand and supply from the three main hubs China, Europe, and North America. Using first estimates on COVID‐19‐induced changes in final demand and production, we obtain an early projection of the GDP effect during the lockdowns that runs through trade in GVCs. Our estimates reveal that adverse demand‐side effects reduce GDP up to 5.4 percent, and that collapsing foreign supply puts an even larger share of countries’ GDP at risk. Overall, we confirm conjecture that the countries most affected are those highly integrated in GVCs (South‐East Asian countries). We argue, however, that these countries also benefit from a well‐diversified portfolio of foreign suppliers and demand destinations, possibly leading to a cushioning of economic downswing because COVID‐19 stroke major hubs at different times.

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E-commerce in preferential trade agreements: implications for African firms and the AfCFTA

At continent level, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations are scheduled to include a protocol on e-commerce under Phase III, presenting a unique opportunity for African countries to collectively establish common positions on e-commerce, harmonise digital economy regulations and leverage the benefits of e-commerce. In this paper, we examine developments in e-commerce negotiations, their implications for African businesses and the role of the AfCFTA. This is done using desk-based research, complemented with primary survey data from 31 African businesses predominantly across Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, and in-depth semi-structured telephone interviews with 15 firms, the majority of which are small enterprises. A core finding is that e-commerce is now more important than ever, with scope for the AfCFTA to provide a guiding framework for data protection, privacy policies and stronger enforcement. The analysis in this paper shows that facilitating a regional dialogue in Africa to open opportunities to cross-border e-commerce trade is key.

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