Philip Schleifer is Associate Professor of Transnational Governance at the Political Science Department at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Previously to his appointment at the UvA, he was a Max Weber Fellow and a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute. Philip held visiting positions at Duke University and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics.
Philip's resarch agenda focuses on the politics and institutional dimensions of transnational governance, with a focus on sustainable development, trade, and production. His past and present projects investigate the effectiveness and transparency of voluntary standards in global value chains, the design of hybrid governance in the European Union, and the political economy of natural resource governance in the Global South. His work has been published in high impact journals, including Review of International Political Economy, Regulation & Governance, Global Environmental Politics, Governance, Globalizations, and Development Policy Review.
At UvA, Philip sits on the management board of the Political Economy and Transnational Governance (PETGOV) program group. He is an associate of the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES), a research fellow of the Earth System Governance Project (ESG), and a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS). His other activities include advisory and policy work for international organizations, civil society organizations, and governments. This includes the International Trade Centre, the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance, and the Dutch Government.
In light of gridlock in many intergovernmental forums, transnational actors (e.g. INGOs, multinational corporations, and city networks) play increasingly important roles in global governance. Long viewed by mainstream international relations (IR) scholars as too insignificant to be studied, today a wide array of non-state actors engage in transborder activism, regulatory standard-setting, and the provision of collective goods and services in areas where the state is unwilling or unable to do so. This “transnational turn” has greatly increased the complexity of world politics, raising fundamental questions about the nature of global governance in the twenty-first century. This course introduces students to this diverse and dynamic field of study. It is structured in three parts: In the first part, students will learn about the history and theory of transnational relations. We will discuss the intellectual development of the field and consider different explanations of the rise and institutionalization of transnational modes of governance. Moreover, we will consider the promise and perils of “governance without government” and consider its implications for power, legitimacy, and effectiveness. In the second part, the course introduces students to key actors and issues in this emerging field of study. Case studies are drawn from three policy areas in which transnational governance is now well-established: Human and social rights, development, and sustainability. In the third part of the course, we will consider the resulting institutional complexity in global governance and ask how it can be managed: Is the rise of transnational actors leading to even more fragmentation in world politics or does it provide a pathway beyond gridlock?
How to use technology to clean our oceans from plastics pollution? Can multinational corporations employ their market power to stop tropical deforestation? Are public-private partnerships the right instrument to fight health emergencies in developing countries? This research project is designed for students with an interest in the transnational governance of sustainability and development in a rapidly changing global context. In light of gridlock in many intergovernmental forums, a great variety of new modes of governance has emerged to address the multitude of sustainability and developmental challenges facing our hot and crowded planet. What are the origins, forms, and consequences of these arrangements? Are they effective and legitimate? Who controls them and whose interests do they really serve? In international relations, public policy, and international political economy, these and other questions have given rise to a vibrant and diverse research agenda. Among other topics, students taking this MARP have studied the design of transnational regime complexes, the effectiveness of corporate codes of conduct, the strategies of transnational advocacy campaigns, the legitimacy of multi-stakeholder initiatives, and power relationships within transnational municipal networks. The projects supervised in this course are problem-oriented, theory-driven, and have a strong empirical-analytical focus. The instructor has a background and preference for qualitative case methodologies.
This executive training provides a comprehensive and practical discussion of standard setting in a rapidly changing global regulatory environment. With a focus on transnational trade and production, participants learn about the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) rules on product standards, and the work of private standard setting bodies such as the International Standardization Organization (ISO). The trainers then focus on the highly dynamic field of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS). Prominent examples are the Forest Stewardship Council, Fairtrade International, and the Rainforest Alliance. These voluntary initiatives set standards for sustainable production and often operate certification programs to verify compliance in global value chains. Initiated by NGOs, firms, and multi-stakeholder initiatives, the stated goal of VSS is to create win-win situations by reconciling environmental, social, and economic policy objectives. However, the potential of VSS to deliver on these objectives remains uncertain and contested. Particularly, the effectiveness of VSS and their impact on trade and development remains subject to much debate and controversy.
International Trade Centre, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, University of Amsterdam, German Development Institute, European University Institute
With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations has called on the private sector to contribute more to achieving the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This report helps decision makers in the public and private sectors to understand where voluntary sustainability standards are best placed to contribute. It maps the linkages between these standards and each SDG goal, including its specific targets.
United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards
The 3rd Flagship Report of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) examines the impact of voluntary sustainality standards (VSS) on sustainable development, trade opportunities, and market access in developing countries.
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE
The study covers national laws and policies directly related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, passed before 1stJanuary 2015. It covers 33 developed and 66 developing countries; 32 Annex-I and 67 non-Annex-I countries. Taken together, the study countries produce 93 per cent of world emissions, including 46 of the world’s top 50 emitters. They are home to 90 per cent of the world’s forests.
International Trade Centre
This report is the second of a series that goes from identifying social and environmental standards to outlining markets that are most fragmented. It offers recommendations for coordination for standard-setting organizations and policymakers.
International Trade Centre
The increase in consumer demand for sustainable trade has given rise to a growing array of social and environmental standards. This report shows that such standards can be made more accessible to producers through cost-sharing, technical assistance and transparency and how country-level characteristics affect the presence and adoption of standards.