Certifying China: The Rise and Limits of Transnational Sustainability Governance in Emerging Economies

GLODEM Book Club

GLODEM is pleased to announce the launch of its new virtual book talk series, GLODEM Book Club. Beginning this month, our online book talks will feature leading scholars from around the globe discussing timely issues related to globalization, political economy, peace and conflict resolution, democratic governance and administration.

Join us for the first book talk of the series with Dr. Yixian Sun on his latest book, Certifying China: The Rise and Limits of Transnational Sustainability Governance in Emerging Economies.


GLODEM invites you to the GLODEM Book Club.


Date: 18 March 2022 – Friday

Time: 13.00 – 14:00

Speaker: Dr. Yixian Sun – University of Bath

Moderator: Merih Angin, Koç University

Zoom registration link: (advance registration required)



Title:Certifying China: The Rise and Limits of Transnational Sustainability Governance in Emerging Economies

About the Book: When widely used, eco-certification has the potential to effectively reduce sustainability impacts of global commodity chains. While this mode of transnational governance has quickly thrived in the markets of developed countries, its ultimate contribution to the achievement of sustainable development will largely depend on the extent to which it gains traction in fast-growing emerging economies. As the world’s largest emerging market with an authoritarian state, China presents a challenging territory for the spread of many certification programs. Under what conditions can transnational eco-certification thrive in this unique and important market? In Certifying China, Yixian Sun addresses this question through a comparative study on China’s involvement in eco-certification of seafood, palm oil, and tea. Through case studies drawn from extensive fieldwork and mixed methods, Sun traces the processes by which certification programs originating from the Global North were introduced in China and gradually gained traction. He finds that the rise of eco-certification in the Chinese market is mainly driven by state actors, including government-sponsored industry associations, who seek to leverage transnational governance to meet their own development goals. The book challenges the conventional wisdom that the Chinese state has little interest in supporting transnational governance, offering novel insights into the interactions between state and non-state actors in earth system governance in emerging economies.

About the Author: Yixian Sun is an assistant professor in International Development at the University of Bath. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations / Political Science, from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and was Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University before joining Bath. He has been a Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance (ESG) Project and co-convene the ESG taskforce on SDGs. He is also an Associate Editor of the journal Global Environmental Politics. Yixian studies transnational governance, environmental politics, and sustainable consumption. His work has been published in high-impact scientific journals including Ecological Economics, Global Environmental Change, Global Environmental Politics, Nature Food, and Review of International Political Economy.


The event will be held in English via Zoom.