2021 Research Conference


Sustainability in Global Value Chains

December 7, 2021

Vienna, Austria


The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted global production networks, commonly known as global value chains (GVCs). It impressed a sense of urgency on governments and internationally operating enterprises to re-evaluate their approaches towards ensuring resilience and sustainability in their supply chains. This seismic event offers an opportunity to rethink established practices, embrace resilience and sustainability as a core value creator, and link long-term recovery strategies to the guiding principles and objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The research conference aims to bring together empirical research on sustainability topics in global value chains.

The conference is part of UNIDO’s annual Forum on Globalization and Industrialization (FGI), scheduled to take place on December 6, 2021.

The research conference programme is expected to be published at the beginning of September. Professor Paola Conconi (Université Libre de Bruxelles and CEPR) is the conference keynote speaker.

Call for Papers:

We welcome submission of full-length papers using micro and macro analyses, as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Role of government regulation, trade and investment agreements for sustainability
  • Impact of GVC participation on sustainability, such as distributional aspects, environmental performance, or labour conditions
  • Sustainability in non-GVC firms or upstream suppliers (e.g., informal workers)
  • Market structures, GVC governance, bargaining power and firm-to-firm linkages
  • MNE strategy, ownership decisions and FDI flows
  • (Re-)organization of GVCs in relation to changing consumer preferences
  • Aggregate sustainability outcomes resulting from GVCs (e.g., technology transfer versus pollution haven)
  • Consumer behaviour, voluntary standards and their effect on supplier countries and firms


Interested applicants wishing to present original research should first send an extended abstract (600-1000 words) to: globalsupplychains@giga-hamburg.de by May 31, 2021. The submission deadline for full-length papers is July 30, 2021. Before submission please read the detailed call for papers.



May 31, 2021 – Extended abstract submission (600-1000 words)

July 30, 2021 – Paper submission deadline

August 15, 2021 – Acceptance/rejection notification

November 15, 2021 – Final papers due

December 6, 2021 – The 2021 Forum on Globalization and Industrialization

December 7, 2021 – Research Conference


Conference organizers:

The research conference is organized by the Research Network Sustainable Global Supply Chains in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Kiel Centre for Globalization (KCG). The newly created research network is a joint initiative by the German Development Institute (DIE-GDI), the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA Hamburg), and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The network is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Source: UNIDO