Closer and greener? Firms' global value chain participation and sustainability

The pivotal year 2015 saw the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement, signifying a global commitment to address social and environmental issues. The Paris Agreement aims to limit the temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, crucial for averting severe climate-related risks. However, still high global CO2 emissions reveal a significant deviation from this goal, emphasizing the urgent need for global sustainability practices.

The doctoral thesis focuses on firms' role in sustainable development through global value chain (GVC) participation, exploring environmental and social dimensions. GVCs connect firms from different countries through the transfer of goods, capital, and labour, presenting an avenue for examining the impact of international business activities on sustainability. The research delves into the role of firms' GVC participation, considering mainly firms’ export activity and GVC positioning.

Chapter 2 reviews literature on trade's environmental impact and firms' adoption of environmental innovations, setting the stage for subsequent chapters. Chapter 3 examines the positive association between firms' export activity and environmental innovation adoption in Europe, particularly in laggard economies. Chapter 4 shifts focus to India, exploring CO2 emissions in upstream GVC positions. Findings suggest a negative relationship, with moderation from environmental regulation in export destinations. Chapter 5 explores Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) along GVCs, incorporating social performance. Empirical analysis using Indian data supports the theoretical model, indicating that downstream firms spend more on CSR.


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