Philip joined the Political Science Department at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) as Assistant Professor in Transnational Governance in January 2016. Previously to his appointment at 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 London School of Economics. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics.
Philip studies the effectiveness and legitimacy of new modes of governance, with a focus on sustainability in global production networks. His past and present projects investigate the transparency and effectiveness of voluntary standards in global value chains, the design of hybrid governance in the European Union, and the political economy of natural resource production 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, and Globalizations
At UvA, Philip is a member of the management board of the Political Economy and Transnational Governance (PETGOV) group. He is also a research fellow of the Earth System Governance Project. His other activities include advisory work for international organizations and governments, including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the International Trade Centre, and the Dutch Government.
This course introduces students to the diverse and dynamic field of transnational governance. Its main objectives are threefold. First, 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 governance. In addition, we will discuss how the shift from government to governance challenges our thinking about fundamental political concepts, such as legitimacy, power, and effectiveness. Second, the course introduces students to key actors and issues in transnational governance – in particular, but not exclusively, its private variety. Topics covered during the course include: the governance of sustainability in global supply chains, the provision of health services in areas of limited statehood, the effectiveness of human rights advocacy, and transnational security governance. Throughout the course guest speakers from politics, business, and civil society will join and enrich our discussions. A third objective of the course is to train students’ writing and debating skills through several hands-on assignments, including a guided speech-writing exercise, co-organized with the speech-writing service of the EU Commission.
This course is designed for students with an interest in global sustainability politics broadly defined. With a focus on (state and non-state) institutions, its main objective is to instruct students to develop and carry out their own research projects. Institutions of relevance to this course include: International environmental regimes (e.g., the global climate regime, the SDGs), Corporate Social Responsibility (e.g., Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan), multi-stakeholder governance (e.g., Forest Stewardship Council, Fairtrade Labelling Organization), environmental NGOs (Greenpeace, WWF), transnational city networks (e.g., C40 cities), and public-private partnerships (e.g., Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership). In the first part of the course, students will learn about key concepts and perspectives to think about and analyse institutions of environmental governance. Possible research themes include the effectiveness, legitimacy, power dynamics, and increasing complexity of transnational governance. The second part of the course focuses on issues of research design. Step-by-step students will develop their research proposals in preparation of the empirical analysis and the writing-up of their dissertations. In the final part of the course, students will work individually on their projects. In this phase, structured feedback is provided during presentations at workshops and during individual meetings with the course instructor.
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.
Tropical deforestation is one of the most pressing environmental problems facing the planet today. Over the last two decades, industrial agriculture has converted millions of hectares of land into soybean fields, cattle ranches, and palm oil plantations. This boom in tropical agriculture has triggered a complex ecological crisis, with far reaching consequences, including biodiversity loss, soil degradation, and global climate change.
Supported through funding from the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES) and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), my book project examines the effectiveness of new modes of governance in addressing global environmental problems. The book integrates research on transnational governance with global value chain analysis to study the uptake and implementation of sustainability standards in global production networks. Based on over 100 interviews and field work in Indonesia and India, I argue that, in a fast-changing political economy context, transnational business regulation is failing to address some of the most destructive dynamics that characterize the “agriculture-forestry nexus” today.
As part of the book’s forward-looking research agenda, I identify new pathways to inform future theorizing and policy-making. Drawing lessons from a decade of hybrid governance on biofuels and tropical timber, I explore the potential of the European Union to “orchestrate” more productive public-private interactions in the emerging transnational regime complex. At the sub-state level, I investigate the governance experiments of local governments and civil society actors. Going beyond the top-down logic of global supply chain initiatives, these “jurisdictional initiatives” promise a local, more horizontal, and holistic approach to governing commodity production in the Global South.