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Philip Schleifer

Max Weber/GGP Fellow

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Biographical Note

Since January 2016, Philip Schleifer is Assistant Professor at the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Philip holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he was also associated with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and with the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation. He was a visiting fellow in political science at Duke University (2012). His areas of expertise are in international political economy and global environmental politics. In particular, he is interested in private sustainability governance (corporate social responsibility, civil society-private sector partnerships). In his doctoral thesis, he analysed and compared the diffusion and design of voluntary standard systems in the soy, sugarcane, and biofuel industries. His work has been published in high impact journals, including  Regulation & Governance  and   International Studies Review,  and he is   a co-author of the GLOBE International Climate Legislation Study, the most comprehensive audit of climate change legislation across 66 countries. 

At LSE, he has taught courses in international political economy and environmental politics. For the last four years, he has worked as a class teacher at LSE’s annual summer school and taught in the BSc International Relations. He also served as a graduate teaching assistant at the London module (business in the global economy) of TRIUM Global Executive MBA, a programme jointly offered by LSE, NYU Stern School of Business and HEC Paris. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University Bremen and a master’s degree in international relations from Free University Berlin. His non-academic work experiences include the International Labour Organization (Carlo Schmid Fellow), the German Foreign Ministry and the Foundation pour la Recherche Stratégique. 

Research Project

Private Governance and Global Agriculture

How does the rise of emerging markets affect the ability of non-state certification programs to govern? In the past, most trade in agricultural commodities occurred between developed and developing countries, but in recent years the volume of south-south trade has increased significantly. The booming demand from emerging markets for food, feed, and fiber is now a key driver behind agricultural expansion, causing large-scale deforestation and biodiversity loss in the tropics. Examining the case of palm oil, the project argues that existing private governance institutions are not well equipped to deal with this crisis. They continue to operate on the basis of a north-south trade model, trying to leverage the market power of big brand companies in order to achieve their sustainability goals. However, the effectiveness of this mechanism is increasingly undermined by the rise of south-south trade and the different structure and institutional context of emerging market supply chains.