Workshop: Environmental Upgrading in Global Value Chains

Organized by the Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS) and the Governing Responsible Business (GRB) WRCE Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 13:30 to 17:30

Venue: Copenhagen Business School, room 2V.088, Dalgas Have 15, 2000 Frederiksberg

Register here.

Global Value Chains (GVC) and Global Production Networks (GPN) have become key frameworks for understanding the global fragmentation of production as a key process of globalization. A key focus of this body of research has been understanding to what extent and under what circumstances participation in GVCs may allow firms and territories to gain market access and learning opportunities. The GVC/GPN framework has delved into the concept of upgrading, which accounts for processes of moving into high value added and more diversified activities, which promotes growth and development trajectories for firms.  A dominant focus within upgrading has been unpacking its economic and social dimensions, while frequently viewing the environment as an externality.
In this workshop, we aim at extending the discussion of upgrading (and downgrading) beyond its economic and social aspects to unpack its environmental dimensions, and explore the interconnectedness of the three. By bringing together academics across disciplines, the workshops aims to nuance, re-conceptualize and provide new empirics on environmental upgrading, in terms of GVC and international business literature – while also linking it to broader debates on sustainable development and green growth and addressing emerging trends.
Paper presentations will be followed by discussant interventions and structured discussion in view of identifying the most promising venues for future research and collaboration, the challenges and opportunities of environmental upgrading and their implications for broader discussions on the current restructuring of the global economy.
Key themes explored in the papers include:
  • What impact does environmental upgrading have on governance structure of GVCs and is there a causal relationship?
  • What are the determinants of environmental upgrading?
  • What practices support the transmission of environmental practices along GVCs?
  • Do improved environmental processes in GVCs lead to better outcomes?
  • Can environmental upgrading be used as a tool to promote sustainable development strategies in firms/countries?


Preliminary programme
13:30-13:45 Introduction by Stefano Ponte
Session 1:
  • Aarti Krishnan* (University of Manchester), Valentina de Marchi and Stefano Ponte: Reconceptualizing environmental upgrading in global, regional and local value chains.
  • Discussant: Søren Jeppesen (Copenhagen Business School)
  • Valentina de Marchi* (University of Padova): Industry 4.0 and environmental upgrading in global value chains.
  • Discussant:  Stefano Ponte (Copenhagen Business School)
  • Open discussion
15:15-15:30 Coffee break











Session 2:

  • Peter Lund Thomsen* (Copenhagen Business School): Compliance and cooperation in global value chains: Effects of the Better Cotton Initiative on social and environmental upgrading in South Asia.
  • Discussant: Valentina de Marchi (University of Padova)
  • René Taudal Poulsen* (Copenhagen Business School), Judith van Leeuwen, Nishatabbas Rehmatulla and Stefano Ponte: Transparency regulation on greenhouse gas emissions and environmental upgrading: Lessons from the tanker shipping value chain
  • Discussant: Andreas Wieland (Copenhagen Business School)
  • Open discussion     

Open discussion on a future research agenda

Wine reception



Organizers:  organizers.pdf

The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 05/20/2019