Department of Business Humanities and Law

Department of Business Humanities and Law

Research initiatives

Selected projects and initiatives



Global Value Chain Law: Constituting Connectivity, Contracts and Corporations (GLOBALVALUE)
European Research Council Advanced Grant:

Global Value Chain Law: Constituting Connectivity, Contracts and Corporations (GLOBALVALUE)

Global Value Chains (GVCs) serves as central infrastructures of the global economy and global society. While the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent developments might have been a revelation in this respect, the centrality of GVCs dates back to the dawn of colonialism. Both historically and in contemporary times, GVCs produces profound environmental and socio-economic externalities in jurisdictions often incapable of or unwilling to effectively regulate abhorrent working conditions and environmental degradation. Hence, the question of how to legally regulate cross-border economic processes including the capability of democratically organised political processes to effectively regulate GVCs is a central legal problem within fields such as competition, contract and corporate law as well as environmental, human rights and labour law. Until recently, voluntary soft law measures were the preferred regulatory tools in relation to GVCs. In the last few years, a decisive move towards hard national (e.g. in France and Germany) and EU regulation has however taken place thereby raising the question to what extent this changes the rules of the game. On the backdrop of this development, GLOBALVALUE develops a novel and systematic socio-legal approach to GVC Law. This is done in a threefold manner: Firstly, through a historical sociological reconstruction of GVC Law going back to colonial law countering the currently dominant ahistorical approaches to GVC Law. Secondly, through three comprehensive case studies in relation to the global pharmaceutical, wine and trade fairs industries. Spanning five continents and nine national jurisdictions the case studies will illuminate the effects of contemporary hard and soft law practices of GVC law. Thirdly, through the development of a new concise conceptuality of GVC law with direct implications for our understanding of core legal concepts such as contract, legal order and economic constitutionalism.

The project is organized in three work packages:

WP 1 engages in a systematic tracking of the origins and sources of GVC Law through a tracking and analysis of the conceptual-historical origin of contemporary regulation of global value chains with a particular focus on the relation to colonial law.

This implies three steps:

Step 1: Mapping the core hard and soft law principles, norms, and sources of contemporary GVC Law;

Step 2: Identification and analysis of the origin, evolution, and transformation of GVC Law;

Step 3: Tracking the dispersion of GVC Law between societal contexts, economic sectors, and legal

The mapping and analysis transverses categories such as public/private; regional/national/international/transnational; direct/indirect relevance and soft/hard law, and encompass concrete principles and norms such as accountability, dignity, principles of source and domicile, responsibility, rules of origin, sustainability, and transparency.

WP 2 analysis the praxes, instruments and norms of GVC Law within three specific GVCs: The global pharmaceutical, wine and trade fairs industries.

This implies two overall steps:

Step 1: A meso-level mapping and analysis of legal and non-legal structure and components of the three specific GVCs;

Step 2: A micro-level thick description of law on the ground in relation to a selected number of specific sites central to the three GVCs through ethnographic observation and interviews.

The identified specific sites are;

Pharmaceuticals: Shanghai/ Zhangjiang Pharma Cluster, China; BioPharma Cluster South Germany, Germany and Hyderabad Pharma City, India.

Wine: The Colchagua Valley Wine Region, Chile; Northern Rhône Wine District, France and Stellenbosch Wine Region, South Africa.

Trade fairs: World Bulk Wine Exhibition, Amsterdam; Arab Health Exhibition Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Retail Supply Chain & Logistics Expo, Law Vegas, Ne, United States.

WP 3 develops a concise conceptuality of GVC Law through theory development asking questions such the implications of GVC regulation for the concept of contract, normative order, legal order, economic constitutionalism, extra-territoriality and territorial extension as well as the implications of GVC law for our understanding of democracy and global society.

The grant
The project is funded by European Research Council Advanced Grant (101054237 – GLOBALVALUE).

Project leader
For further information, please contact Professor Poul F. Kjaer,


The page was last edited by: Department of Business Humanities and Law // 03/03/2023