About me


Stefano Ponte

Professor of International Political Economy

Director of the Centre for Business and

Development Studies

Copenhagen Business School

Room: DH.Ø.2.23


E-mail: spo.msc@cbs.dk


My primary interest lies in transnational economic and environmental governance, with focus on overlaps and tensions between private governance and public regulation. My research, fieldwork, teaching and policy work is informed by international political economy approaches, global value chain analysis and convention theory. My work analyzes governance dynamics and economic and environmental upgrading trajectories in global value chains — especially in developing countries and in Africa. I am particularly interested in how sustainability standards, labels and certifications shape agro-food value chains, and in how different forms of partnerships affect sustainability outcomes. I am also involved in projects critically examining the role of celebrities and branding in these processes, new forms of corporate social and environmental responsibility, and cause-related marketing.


Academic background

1999 Ph.D., University of East Anglia (UK), Development Studies

1994 M.A. with Honors, University of Chicago (USA), Social Science/International Relations

1993 Laurea cum Laude, University of Padova (Italy), Political Science

Current positions and professional responsibilities

Director, Centre for Business and Development Studies, Copenhagen Business School (2019-)

Professor of International Political Economy, Copenhagen Business School (2012-)

Visiting Professor, Dept. of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Italy (2020-21)

Visiting Professor, School of Business and Humanities, Nelson Mandela African Institute for Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania (2020-)

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development, University of Johannesburg (2019-)

Member, Academic Council, Copenhagen Business School (2019-)

Member, CBS-Wide Appointment Committee (CWAC), Copenhagen Business School (2020-)

Member, Academic Advisory Council, UN Forum on Sustainability Standards (2020-)

Member, Responsible Global Value Chains, University of Montpellier (2016-)

Membership of Editorial Boards: Journal of Economic Geography (2020-), Environment and Planning A (2016-), Geoforum (2014-), Review of African Political Economy (2012-), Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies (2018-), African Affairs (2011-18, full term), Third World Quarterly (2014-2017, resigned)

Current research projects

The paradoxes of climate-smart coffee (PACSMAC), Co-Investigator, FFU research and capacity building programme (Denmark) (2021-2025)

Power and Inequality in Global Production Systems (PIPS), Principal Investigator, Independent Research Fund Denmark, Social Sciences, Research project (2020-2024)

The Hidden Costs of Supply Chains, Co-Investigator, SSHRC Grant (Canada) (2018-2024) https://hiddencosts.ubc.ca

Green Shipping: Governance and Innovation for a Sustainable Maritime Supply Chain, Co-Investigator, SSHRC Partnership Grant (Canada) (2017-2023) https://greenshippingproject.com

New Partnerships for Sustainability (NEPSUS), Principal Investigator, FFU research and capacity building programme (Denmark) (2016-2022) https://www.nepsus.info


General: global economy, global value chains, political economy of development, power and inequality, transnational governance, sustainability standards and certifications, ethical trade and consumption, branding, aid celebrities, new actors and alliances in development, cause-related marketing

Theoretical: global value chain analysis, convention theory

Disciplinary: international political economy, economic geography, economic sociology, development studies

Sectoral: agro-food industries (coffee, capture fish, aquaculture, wine, biofuels), shipping, aviation, 3DP

Geographic: emerging economies and low-income countries; Africa: Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia; Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam.