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.

Recent publications



2021 / Contested Sustainability: The Political Economy of Conservation and Development Partnerships in Tanzania, James Currey/Boydell & Brewer: Martelsham, UK and Rochester, NY– co-editor with Christine Noe and Daniel Brockington, in progress.

Editor of special issues of journals


2021 / “Entangled Chains of Value and Wealth in Contemporary Capitalism,” under consideration by Economy & Society – co-editor with Leonard Seabrooke, Jennifer Bair and Duncan Wigan.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed International Journals


2021 / "Brand Aid and Value Chain Partnerships at the Service of Corporate Strategy: Is Starbucks Working Aid Out of Business?" World Development – with Lisa Ann Richey (2nd) Vol. 143: 105193 [3]


2021 / “Enhancing Conservation Outcomes in Marine Protected Areas through Partnerships,” Ocean and Coastal Management – with Robert Katikiro, Opportuna Kweka, Rasul A. Minja and Faraja Namkesa (5th author)


2020 / “Competition and Power in Global Value Chains,” Competition & Change – with Pamela Mondliwa and Simon Roberts (3rd author)


2020 / “The Potential and Limits of Environmental Disclosure Regulation in Tanker Shipping: A Global Value Chain Perspective,” Global Environmental Politics – with René Taudal Poulsen, Judith van Leeuwen and Nish Rehmatulla (2nd author)


2020 / “The Hidden Costs of Environmental Upgrading in Global Value Chains,” Review of International Political Economy [3]


2020 / “From Pyramid to Pointed Egg? A Twenty-year Perspective on Poverty, Prosperity and Rural Transformation in Tanzania,” African Affairs, Vol. 119, No. 475, pp. 203-223 – with Dan Brockington (1st author) [3]


2020 / “Private Authority and Public Policy in the Global South: Decentralization, Delegation and Securitization in Governance Spheres of Conservation,” Regulation & Governance – with Christine Noe and Asubisye Mwamfupe (1st author) [3]


2020 / “Green Capital Accumulation: Business and Sustainability Management in a World of Global Value Chains,” New Political Economy, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 72-84 [3]


2020 / “The Factory Manager Dilemma: Purchasing Practices and Environmental Upgrading in Apparel Global Value Chains,” Environment and Planning A, Vol. 52, No. 4, pp. 766–789 – with Mahwish Khan and Peter Lund-Thomsen (2nd author) [4]

Book chapters and Yearbook/Handbook contributions


2021 / “Orchestrating sustainability in a world of global value chains,” forthcoming in Florence Palpacuer and Adrian Smith (eds.) Rethinking Value Chains: Tackling the Challenges of Global Capitalism. Bristol: Bristol University Press.


2021 / “Sustainability and green capital accumulation: Lessons from the South African wine value chain,” forthcoming in Antonio Andreoni, Pamela Mondliwa, Simon Roberts and Fiona Tregenna (eds.) Structural Transformation in South Africa: Sectors, Politics and Global Challenges. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See full publication list