DeMarchi, V, DiMaria, E, Krishnan, A and Ponte, S
The Handbook of Global Value Chains
Environmental upgrading in global value chains
Responding to stakeholder pressure, firms are increasingly challenged to reduce their environmental impacts. This chapter reviews the potential upgrading trajectories for firms engaged in global value chains (GVCs) to effectively reduce the impacts on the environment of all activities linked to their products - not just those that are carried out in house - and the major drivers of these investments. We also examine the role of global lead firms in fostering the greening of GVCs and the different governing approaches that they have adopted. Furthermore, we look at different forms of supplier agency in these processes, both in the Global North and the Global South. Finally, we identify the key challenges related to the reduction of environmental impacts along GVCs and discuss limits and opportunities for the joint achievement of economic and environmental outcomes.
Aarti Krishnan is a Hallsworth Research fellow at the University of Manchester. She is a developmental economist, working at the nexus of environment, trade and development. Her areas of expertise include value chain analysis, green growth, agricultural transformation, innovation and knowledge systems, digitalisation and regional development.
She began her career working as a commodity derivate market analyst at in Mumbai working on developing structured financial products for edible oils and oil seeds futures and carbon markets. Following this, she was a Research Associate at the University of Manchester, evaluating the role of sustainability standards, environmental innovations and corporate social responsibility in agricultural and light manufacturing sectors. She has worked as a Senior Research Officer at the Overseas Development Institute, researching a range of topics to support governments relating to technology and the SDGs and promoting the inclusion of micro and small enterprises into value chains.
She has held the prestigious ESRC postdoctoral fellowship award, researching on taking the environment seriously in value chains, researching the effects digitalisation on future of food production and consumption. Aarti holds a Masters in Environmental Management and PhD in Development Policy from the University of Manchester, and BBA (Finance) from Delhi University.
Stefano Ponte is a Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the Centre for Business and Development Studies at Copenhagen Business School. His research focuses on governance dynamics, and economic and environmental upgrading trajectories in global value chains — especially in developing countries and in Africa. He is particularly interested in how sustainability standards, labels and certifications shape agro-food value chains, and in how different forms of partnerships affect sustainability outcomes.