Trade through global and regional value chains is increasingly focusing on the need to support sustainable development. It is important to unpack the drivers and relationships between environmental upgrading, with the economic and social to comprehend sustainable upgrading trajectories
Over 85% of world trade flows through global and regional value chains. Much of this work has long focused on the economic dimensions and social dimensions of participating in these chains and production networks. Research has not adequately studied the interactions between value chains and the environment nor verified if the pursuit of environmental upgrading may be accompanied by economic and social upgrading. Equally, the wider implications which environmental upgrading trajectories have for economic growth and the sustainability agendas of firms and countries are underexplored.
Some work has explored the relationships between economic globalisation and the environment (e.g. Leichenko and O'Brien, 2008), while others have begun to investigate sustainability and environmental upgrading in value chains. Greater consideration of the processes of environmental upgrading for smallholders and other value-chain actors can shed a light on the role of green growth agendas, private and public environmental standards. There is a need to explore the drivers of environmental upgrading and the degree to which environmental upgrading can support sustainable development, while also accounting for existing asymmetries of power and agency within the value chain.
The panel welcomes papers on issues including, but not limited to:
- Environmental governance, data and its implications for trade
- Synergies and contestations in achieving economic, social and environmental upgrading in value chains
- Alternative forms of sustainability governance: thinking beyond corporate social responsibility and voluntary sustainability standards
- Drivers of environmental and other types of upgrading
- Climate change, climate extremes and resilience in value chains