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DDRN group: Global Value Chains in Business and Development


The concept of the global value chain (GVC) (and its cousin, the supply chain) has been developed theoretically, based on a number of empirical studies. At the same time, the concept has been used by donors and others to formulate policies and actual development projects. The Global Value Chains in Business and Development Working Group will explore synergies through a dialogue and an interaction between researchers and practitioners with the intention to develop the potential of the GVC concept theoretically and practically.

The DDRN conference Global Value Chains, Business and Development (December 9, 2008) provided a platform for dialogue between development researchers, private firms operating in developing countries, and development staff with the view to exchange information on results, ongoing initiatives and tools related to the themes of the conference:

  1. Private sector development, public and private governance in trade, development intervention
  2. GVC, development and upgrading
  3. GVC, standards, Corporate Social Responsibility

The conference attracted 70 participants representing different target groups, which confirmed the wide and growing interest in global value chains in relation to business and development issues.

A DDRN Research Overview published in relation to the conference documented that research and researchers within the field are scattered at the moment, and that there is a need for a platform where researchers can collaborate and exchange knowledge, ideas, experiences etc. At a follow-up meeting that was organised by DDRN (November 2, 2009), there was a strong interest in establishing the GVC Working Group as a space for sharing and collaboration.


  • To provide a multi-stakeholder platform for sharing relevant knowledge and experience on GVC 
  • To establish an on-line GVC knowledge base, inlcuding the profiles of Working Group members
  • To enhance GVC research across disciplines through discussions on research findings, their application, and on needs for new research, as well as on policy implications
  • To develop a network of researchers from North and South institutions as a platform for integrating and communicating research results and for joint initiatives on new research
    5) To explore options for developing decision-support tools for GVC management

Target group:

  • Development researchers, including student researchers, across disciplines 
  • Donor representatives 
  • Staff of private companies involved in GVCs 
  • Consultants 
  • NGO staff and members

Previous activities:


Estimated duration: 2 years

Expected outcomes:

  • An on-line knowledge base, which is updated continuously on a regular basis 
  • A series of seminars/workshop 
  • A forum which facilitates the establishment of strategic research projects involving members from several institutions in the North and in the South 
  •  A key outcome is expected to be an enhanced understanding of how to use the GVC approach in practice and improved theoretical modelling of GVC

For further information, please contact Arne Wangel (aw@man.dtu.dk).

Background documents:

Overview of Danish Research Competences and Projects on Global Value Chains, Business and Development (DDRN, Dec 2008).

Prior to the conference on Global Value Chains, Business and Development, DDRN initiated a review of Danish GVC research, which was presented during the conference. The review briefly explains the GVC conceptual framework. It provides descriptions of recent and current research in Denmark, also in terms of geographical focus, funding structure and research cooperation. The review identifies current trends in research activities and points to the challenges for new research. The appendices list current projects, resource persons in Denmark, and international knowledge hubs on GVC research.

The review will form the basis for a continuous mapping of the GVC knowledge base to be published on-line on the DDRN website. Members are encouraged to contribute corrections, additions, and other updates to the knowledge base.


DDRN Conference: Global Value Chains, Business and Development (Department of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec 9, 2008). Conference Report and presentations.

The Conference was the first initiative presenting recent and ongoing research as well as practical experiences on GVC across research institutions and private organisations in Denmark. The conference launched a process with the aim of establishing a platform for dialogue between researchers, practitioners, students and other stakeholders, and mapping the resources available on Global Value Chains (GVC).

The Conference Report includes presentations of the speakers during the three sessions of the conference:
– Session 1: Emerging issues and international trends
– Session 2: Challenges and consequences of the integration in the global economy for developing countries
– Session 3: Ensuring sustainable economic growth in developing countries
The annex provides a list of the participants. 


External links:

GVC, Duke University

ODI Working Paper - A 'New' approach to global value chain analysis

Integrating poverty and environmental concerns in to value chain analysis. A conceptual framework. Article from Development Policy Review 28 (2), by S. Bolwig et al., March 2010.

Integrating poverty and environmental concerns in to value chain analysis. A strategic framework and practical guide. Article from Development Policy Review 28 (2), by L. Riisgaard et al., March 2010.

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