Below are listed some of the current and completed research projects at CBDS.

Current projects:



FRONTIERS explores frontiers along two dimensions: frontiers of sustainability governance; and frontiers for natural resource use and extraction for the green transition – with an emphasis on minerals, thereby advancing a third. Working across several aspects of social science and their application in a technical and natural scient context, we push the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research frontier for a comprehensively sustainable transition towards low-carbon societies.

Principal investigator: Karin Buhmann

Funding body: Carlsberg Foundation



Circular Economy and Sustainable Development in the Bangladeshi Garment Industry (CREATE), 2022-2027

The global fashion industry must move from the linear take-make-waste system to a circular system, because making more clothes using virgin resources will not keep us within planetary boundaries of water use, CO2 emissions, use of chemicals and generation and disposal of waste. CREATE examines the circularity shift in apparel global value chains and the challenges and opportunities it presents to Bangladesh’s apparel export industry. It investigates how Bangladesh can restructure its textile and apparel industry not only to retain its position in the emerging circular apparel global value chains, but also use the new textile economy to drive green industrialization processes that create more jobs, higher incomes and stimulate innovation.

Co-investigator: Lindsay Whitfield

Funding body: Danida Fellowship Centre


Environmental Maritime Governance in Kenya: Policy, Practice and Prospects for the Abatement of Shipping Air Emissions (EMG-K), 2022-2024


Kenya faces the challenge of facilitating economic development via its growing maritime trade while protecting the global climate and local air quality. The EMG-K project explores Kenya’s environmental maritime governance for the abatement of emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from ships from the perspective of policymaking and policy practice. The project examines Kenya’s engagement in policy making in the United Nation’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), which regulates shipping’s air emissions via the MARPOL Convention. EMG-K also studies the implementation and enforcement of IMO MARPOL Convention’s Annex VI in Kenyan ports. The project suggests ways to strengthen Kenya’s maritime governance, and supports Kenya’s efforts to mitigate climate change and improve local air quality.

Principal investigator: René Taudal Poulsen 

Co-investigators: Hannah Elliott, Stefano Ponte, Hans Krause Hansen

Funding body: Danida Fellowship Centre


Hotspot of Multiple Stressors: Research-based Management of the Gulf of Guinea (HOTSPOT 2), 2022-2025

HOTSPOT2 is a collaborative and interdisciplinary project combining expertise in marine environment and anthropogenic stressors, coastal degradation and fisheries management, and livelihoods and mobility. This three-year project investigates the causes and consequences of degradation on Ghana’s coastal environment. The project is led by the Danish Technical University in Denmark (DTU) with CBS co-leading a workpackage on livelihoods and mobility in collaboration with University of Cape Coast in Ghana and Loughborough University in England.

Co-investigator: Thilde Langevang

Funding body: Danida Fellowship Centre

Paradoxes of Climate Smart Coffee (PACSMAC), 2021-2025

PACSMAC will analyze the prospects for climate-smart coffee using a multidisciplinary approach, helping address sustainable development and climate change. Facing increasing temperatures, precipitation changes and new disease and pest threats, coffee farmers are testing new planting techniques and genetic varietals, activities that are attracting interest from other actors in the coffee value chain (VC). PACSMAC will study how Global Value Chain (GVC) structures affect opportunities for and benefits from climate adaptation and mitigation in the coffee sector in Ethiopia and Tanzania, addressing three questions:

1. How might climate change itself, alongside the mitigation and adaptation efforts intended to address it, affect the governance of coffee VCs originating in Ethiopia and Tanzania? 2. How do these changes affect the distribution of value along the chain, upgrading opportunities and farmer livelihoods? 3. How might these changes reshape the geography of coffee production and forest cover? Contact: Kristjan Jespersen

Funding body: DANIDA FFU

Partners: CBS, University of Dar es Salaam, Jimma University, ESADE University, Lafayette College

Project investigator: Kristjan Jespersen



Making Oceans Count in the Nordic Financial System

Finance is well positioned to support healthy oceans in the Nordics via its capital allocation. Making economic activities with negative impacts on ocean health more costly via a higher risk rating in credit assessments would send a clear signal to the market. However, first Nordic financial service institutions (FIs) need to gain an awareness of how their investment and credit decisions contribute to major Nordic ocean risks such as, but not limited to, eutrophication and fish stock depletion. The project will follow the money of major Nordic FIs calculating the ocean impacts per invested krone and translating it into financial value at risk and carbon at risk. Quantifying ocean risks into negative impacts on the business and carbon commitments will help to drive oceans into financial decision-making practices of Nordic FIs. The project will not stop at ocean risks but will facilitate an innovation process for the design of new ocean positive financial products and services.

Contact: Kristjan Jespersen

Partners: CBS, WWF Denmark, Green Digital Finance Alliance


Climate Change and Global Value Chains in Bangladesh, 2021-2025

This research and capacity building project will investigate how the garment/textile value chains connecting Europe/Bangladesh are being reconfigured in response to climate change. Our research will answer the following questions: How are the garment/textile value chains connecting Europe/Bangladesh being reconfigured in response to climate change, and what are the consequences for economic, social, and environmental upgrading in the garment/textile industries of Bangladesh? The main research objective is to create insights into the actors pushing for decarbonization and value chain resilience efforts in the garment/textile industries of Europe/Bangladesh; the drivers behind their engagement; the scope of their practices, experimentation, and collaboration; and the consequences for economic, social, and environmental upgrading in Bangladesh.

Principal investigator: Peter Lund-Thomsen

Funding body: Danida Fellowship Centre


Power and Inequality in Global Production Systems (PIPS)

Global inequalities are growing and have become widely recognized as major challenges. A main driver of inequality has been the globalization of production which yielded new winners and losers within and across nations. Massive participation of global South actors in value chains and production networks has not led to a significant increase in value-added within these countries, despite expectations of the contrary. As inequality in the distribution of value added between actors in the global South and in the global North persists, new efforts have been directed in understanding how to reduce these inequalities. PIPS contributes new knowledge on about how value chain actors exercise power and what kinds and combinations of power they yield. Existing research has focused on identifying bargaining power asymmetries without examining how other forms of power may underpin, challenge or undermine bargaining power across value chains and in time. PIPS applies and further develops a new theory of power in global value chains to address these limitations.

How do different combinations of power shape the functioning of global value chains in time? When and in what circumstances do these combinations yield increasing or decreasing inequalities along global production systems? What policies and interventions can be learned in view of taming existing inequalities?

Empirically, PIPS analyzes two global value chains within the agro-food sector: Chile and South Africa. These two countries have similar production conditions but divergent outcomes. In both countries, international trade plays an important role, and the agro-food sector contributes to important diversification venues away from overdependence on extractive industries. Their climatic conditions (Central region in Chile, Western Cape region in South Africa) and portfolio of agricultural products is similar, making them competitors for a range of processed and fresh products. Yet, their trajectories in seeking to improve domestic value addition have been widely divergent, with Chile succeeding and South Africa failing.

PIPS examines power dynamics in these value chains over time, focusing on two out of their top three agro-food export industries: table grapes and wine. In the table grapes value chain, the two countries provide a relatively uniform counter-seasonal fresh product to retailers in the global North, with quality playing a relatively less important role in power relations along the value chain. In wine, the two countries provide a large quality portfolio of a processed product, with quality differentials playing a key role in power relations. This comparison allows for an examination of how different forms of power affect bargaining power over time, and thus how they affect inequality in the distribution of value added along the two chains.

Pincipal Investigator: Stefano Ponte

Funding body: Independent Research Fund Denmark


Creating and Capturing Value in the Global Apparel Industry, 2020-2025

Global apparel buyers are looking to Sub-Saharan African countries as the last ‘cheap labor’ frontier for labor-intensive apparel production given that Asia’s dominance in apparel exports is set to decline, driven by increases in production costs and a turn to higher technological sectors and domestic markets. The shift of apparel production to SSA could be a win-win situation for global buyers and African governments, firms and workers: finding new low cost sourcing locations, and spurring inclusive industrialization and growth in SSA countries. Yet, evidence from other regions with apparel export industries shows that export firms face high competitive pressures and that jobs are characterized by very low wages and problematic working conditions. AfricaApparel asks whether Ethiopia and Kenya can harness the opportunities of participating in the apparel global value chain to drive industrialization that is sustainable both from the perspective of supplier firms and workers.

Principal investigator: Lindsay Whitfield 

Funding body: Danida Fellowship Centre




Private-sector Engagement in Humanitarian Action (HUMAC)


HUMAC focuses on business-humanitarian collaboration in different crisis contexts to understand how humanitarian initiatives that involve private-sector firms can be organized in an ethical, effective, and sustainable manner. In doing so, HUMAC aims to generate urgently needed research-based knowledge and theoretical insights into the organizational dynamics, complications, and solutions of business-humanitarian collaboration.

Contact: Verena Girschik


Everyday Humanitarianism in Tanzania, 2019-2024


Everyday Humanitarianism in Tanzania (EveryHumanTZ) is a joint research project being conducted by researchers from public Universities from Denmark and Tanzania aiming to explore and understand the practices of everyday humanitarianism and the attitudes that ground them. The project is based at Copenhagen Business School and at the University of Dar es Salaam, also including Roskilde University, University of Copenhagen and London School of Economics.

Principal investigator: Lisa Ann Richey

Funding body: Danida Fellowship Centre

Advancing Creative Industries for Development in Ghana (ACIG), 2019-2024

Facebook page.

Advancing Creative Industries for Development in Ghana (ACIG) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project investigating the dynamics of creative work and creative entrepreneurship in Ghana. Focusing on performing arts, film, fashion design and visual arts industries, a team of researchers from Copenhagen Business School, Loughborough University and University of Ghana works closely with private sector creative businesses and policy stakeholders to co-produce original empirical and theoretical knowledge on creative industries in an African context.

Project investigator: Thilde Langevang

Funding body: Danida Fellowship Centre



This research is conducted as a collaboration between the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Copenhagen Business School. The aim is to study the potential for behavioral economic interventions along the sustainable palm oil value chain, more popularly known as “nudging.” This research will, first, identify points in the value chain where cognitive biases impede the uptake of the standard and, second, develop plans for the use of randomized controlled trials to test the effects of nudges on uptake.

Contact: Kristjan Jespersen

The Hidden Cost of Global Supply Chains

Project website

The project aims to go beyond the traditionally investigated economic benefits of global supply chains, and explore the rather less well understood - but growing - environmental and social costs. It is based on a global, collaborative partnership between journalists and governance scholars, and holds potential for unique knowledge translation and mobilization. Hidden Costs has signed partnership agreements with The New York Times, PBS FRONTLINE, Toronto Star, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC News, and Smithsonian Channel. These partners will provide additional funding and support for reporting projects, and will distribute the content, which will include documentaries, newspaper series and digital projects. The project will culminate in a traveling exhibit staged in two shipping containers – built in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada – which will travel around North America to key hubs of global commerce. (Global Reporting Centre)

Contact: Stefano Ponte


The Regulation of International Supply Chains (RISC)

RISC has three objectives: it will 1) identify attributes of effective governance of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) – and social sustainability more widely – in the Bangladesh (BD) ready-made garment (RMG) industry; 2) provide new academic and practical knowledge on the governance of social sustainability in international supply chains; and 3) contribute to local capacity-building and solutions for OHS and social sustainability in BD.

Contact: Jeremy Moon


Mind Science in Society of Innovation

This project endeavors to focus on the discovery of how to use experience based co-created innovation for engaging with future markets. To address this objective we have initiated a project on co-creating experience based innovation and created a network around Europe and the world, with several planned activities. You can learn more about the project on its website here.

Contact: Sudhanshu Rai


The Indian Space Research (ISRO) Innovation Story, the Mars Program

The overall objective and relevance of this research is that low cost innovation is not enough to sustain long term innovation if it is not coupled with high quality and high impact innovation. We will use frugal innovation literature and its manifestations as the scaffolding within which we conduct our investigation of high quality, high impact low cost (HQ-HI-LC) innovations in India. We conjecture that ISRO’s MOM program has shown the way how to engage with HQ-HI-LC innovation; a term we have coined for the purposes of our argumentation.

Contact: Sudhanshu Rai


The Nature of Indian Innovation: A Look at Non-Industrial Production Systems

This project is about exploring the nature of Indian innovation. "The nature" implies the mental ability of non-industrial creators of products that rely on their experience. This is usually training which has been handed down from generations to address the current needs in a manner that supports their growth of their creation. The endeavor is to study 15 non-industrial production systems across India to ascertain the nature of Indian innovation. The researchers in the first leg have studied the diamond cutting and polishing industry which is skill based and is an art handed over and honed over generations. While this kind of art has been recently organized into industrial production systems, the skill and art remains a kind of fluid knowledge which needs to be practiced to be learnt. Similarly such kind of non-industrial production system will be under review across India. This in short is the nature of Indian innovation project.

Contact: Sudhanshu Rai


Women Entrepreneurship in the Bamboo Value Chain of South Asia

This project is a three-year in-depth-study of womens' entrepreneurship in the bamboo value chains of India in the states of Assam, Odisha, Meghalya, and Madhya Pradesh. Involved researchers include Peter-Lund Thomsen, Søren Jeppesen and Uzma Rehman as well as Lauren McCarthy, Royal Holloway, London in addition to our Indian colleagues Sukhpal Singh, Shikha Bhattacharjee and Falak Jalali. The study examines the reasons why and the processes through which women become micro-entrepreneurs at the base of the bamboo value chains in India. The study is part of a collaborative initiative with the Foundation for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in New Delhi that seeks to promote the production of sustainable bamboo in India. The project is funded by the EU-Switch Asia program.

Contact: Peter Lund-Thomsen


Completed projects

Multi-stakeholder Initiatives in the Cotton Value Chains of South Asia

The overall objective of this research project is to analyze:

(i) how multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSI) for sustainable cotton production are formulated, implemented, and monitored in the cotton value chains of South Asia; and

(ii) whether the processes through which MSIs are institutionalized in South Asia make any difference to the income, work, and environmental conditions of cotton farmers and on-farm workers in this region.

These objectives will be achieved through the development of a theoretical framework that analyzes the processes through which sustainable cotton MSIs emerge, how they are institutionalized in different institutional contexts in the developing world, and how a variety of global forces (MSIs in global value chains (GVCs)) and local forces (national institutional contexts, local industrialization strategies, and the agency of workers/farmers) co-determine cotton producers’/on-farm workers’ income, work, and environmental conditions in developing countries. The framework is then applied to a comparative study of the evolution of the world’s largest sustainable cotton MSI – the Better Cotton Initiative - and its effects in South Asia (India and Pakistan).

Contact: Peter Lund-Thomsen



Commodifying Compassion, 2017-2023


Today’s marketplace is inundated with products supporting humanitarian causes that promise to give aid to beneficiaries, provide ‘good feelings’ to consumers and promote the brands of corporations and humanitarian NGOs. The commodification of humanitarianism (turning people and causes into marketable things) is thus linked to the privatization of help (replacing public donors with private philanthropy) with significant and as of yet poorly understood consequences. Commodifying Compassion will explore these dynamics in three different contexts where humanitarianism has been a realm traditionally dominated by the state (Denmark), the church (Italy) and the market (United States). The overall objective of Commodifying Compassion is to understand how ‘helping’ has become a marketable commodity and how this impacts humanitarianism symbolically and materially.

Principal investigator: Lisa Ann Richey

Funding body: Danish Council for Independent Research


New Partnerships for Sustainability (NEPSUS)


The NEPSUS research and capacity building project assembles a multidisciplinary team to analyze sustainability partnerships in three key natural resource sectors in Tanzania: forestry, wildlife and coastal resources. In each of these sectors, we assess whether co-management with local communities and private and civil society actors, and putatively more participatory processes in the governance of renewable resources, result in more equitable and sustainable livelihoods and environmental outcomes.

Contact: Stefano Ponte,


Project website

SUSTEIN will focus on localized translations of transnational sustainability standards in Kenya, United Arab Emirates and corporate headquarters in Europe to advance our understanding of the global value chain of certified tea. Our theoretical aim is to go beyond the idea of global value chain by way of deploying the novel concept of infrastructure. This will allow the project to better comprehend the recursive loops and contingent causes and effects in global value chains.

Contact: Martin Skrydstrup


PDF icon CBDS_Completed Projects_before 2020

The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 05/03/2024