If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research interests

My research focuses on transnational governance, environmental politics, and sustainable development in the Global South. I seek to explain whether and how different types of governance initiatives can help large emerging economies, China in particular, achieve sustainability transitions. My book project examines China's engagement in transnational sustainability certification of agricultural commodities. I have published research papers on private governance in major academic journals including Ecological Economics, Global Environmental Politics, and the Review of International Political Economy.

Another area of my research is the political economy of global food supply chains. I have collaborated on large-scale survey experiments in China, Germany, the US and the UK to investigate citizens' incentives in changing consumption behavior and their preferences for different standards and regulations on sustainable food. 

Recently I started to expand my work on the sustainability impact of China-funded development projects around the world. I am currently design research projects in this area. 

Willing to supervise doctoral students

I am wiling to supervise PhD students who want to work on global environmental governance, corporate sustainability strategies, sustainable development in China, and the impact of China's foreign investment in the Global South. For those who are interested in these areas, please contact me by email.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Political Science/International Relations, Doctor of Philosophy, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Award Date: 27 Nov 2018

Political Science/International Relations, Master of Arts, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Award Date: 12 Sep 2014

International Studies, Bachelor of Arts, Nanjing University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2010

External positions

Associate Editor, Global Environmental Politics (Journal)

Feb 2022 → …

Member of the Expert Peer Review Group, Race to Zero - the UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world in time.

Aug 2021 → …

Environmental Studies Section Outreach committee member, International Studies Association (ISA)

Mar 2019 → …

Research Fellow, Earth System Governance Project


  • JZ International relations
  • JF Political institutions (General)
  • China
  • Environmental Politics
  • Sustainable Development
  • Transnational Governance
  • Non-state Actors
  • Global value chains
  • Climate Change
  • Political Economy


Dive into the research topics where Yixian Sun is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or