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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 pusblished 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 PhD

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.

Education/Academic qualification

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

15 Sep 201427 Nov 2018

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

International Studies, Bachelor of Arts, Nanjing University

External positions

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

Fingerprint 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.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
China Social Sciences
sustainability Social Sciences
governance Social Sciences
political economy Social Sciences
food supply Social Sciences
politics Social Sciences
consumption behavior Social Sciences
research focus Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2016 2020

Swimming in their own direction: Explaining domestic variation in homegrown sustainability governance for aquaculture in Asia

Sun, Y. & van der Ven, H., 1 Jan 2020, In : Ecological Economics. 167, 106445.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Private Governance in Developing Countries: Drivers of Voluntary Carbon Offset Programs

Andonova, L. & Sun, Y., 28 Feb 2019, In : Global Environmental Politics. 19, 1, p. 99-122 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Promises and risks of nonstate action in climate and sustainability governance

Chen, S., Boran, I., van Asselt, H., Iacobuta, G., Rietig, K., Scobie, M., Bansard, J. S., Delgado Pugley, D., Delina, L. L., Eichhorn, F., Ellinger, P., Enechi, O., Hale, T., Hermwille, L., Hickmann, T., Honegger, M., Hurtado Epstein, A., La Hoz Theuer, S., Mizo, R., Sun, Y. & 2 others, Toussaint, P. & Wambugu, G., 1 May 2019, In : Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews : Climate Change . 10, 3, e572.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Open Access

Reviewing the impact of sustainability certification on food security in developing countries

Schleifer, P. & Sun, Y., 22 Nov 2019, In : Global Food Security. 24, 100307.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article