Sustainability in Global Value Chains

Implementing Free Trade and the Sustainable Development Goals

February 1 Thursday


February 1, 2018, 9.30 - 16.30


Brussels, Belgium


Dr Peter Hefele, Director, KAS RECAP; Dr Hubertus Bardt, Managing Director, Cologne Institute for Economic Research



With open markets companies and businesses are increasingly embedded in Global Value Chains. They thereby heavily influence social and environmental conditions in the respective countries.

Also available in Deutsch

With open markets the world economy is increasingly embedded in Global Value Chains (GVCs). Many firms have spread their production chains across wider and more diverse geographical areas. In the past decades trade in intermediate products has gained importance and today make up the bulk of world trade. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) trade in intermediates now accounts for almost two-thirds of global trade. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also sees the greater part of international trade already taking place in the context of a Global Value Chain.

The reorganisation of production along Global Value Chains offers the unique opportunity to follow the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the framework of the UN Agenda 2030. For this end, international solutions for an open but also fair trade but and technological diffusion are essential. Trade agreements also provide incentives for sustainable development. In its policy of free trade agreements with other countries, the European Union has committed itself to include a chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) in trade agreements as part of the EU’s value-based trade agenda.

To reflect the diversity of discussions in Asia and Europe, the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia-Pacific of KAS and the Cologne Institute for Economic Research organise two international workshops in the respective regions. The one-day workshop in Europe will be held at the KAS office in Brussels. Representatives from governmental and intragovermental organisations and multinational companies will discuss the following issues:

  • Sustainability in Global Value Chains
  • Implications of the SDGs for businesses and international trade
  • Options and limitations of implementing global standards
  • Global vs local standards and their implementation
  • Standards and practices set by MNEs: Experiences, good practises and perspectives/presentation of concrete cases
  • The role of regulators, consumers and other stakeholders (i.e. NGOs)
Freight train from Europe to China at the Russian border

Trade between Europe and Asia is flourishing. This creates new opportunities for implementing sustainability measures in intercontinental value chains. (© Jack No1, Wikimedia Commons)

Contact person

Dr. Peter Hefele

Head of the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia and Pacific

Dr. Peter Hefele
Phone +852 28822245
Fax +852 28828515
Languages: Deutsch,‎ English,‎ Français,‎ Magyar


Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW Köln)