SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Caroline Hambloch

BSc Economics (University Maastricht), MSc Economics (University of Copenhagen)
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Caroline Hambloch
Miss Caroline Hambloch
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Thesis title:
Agro-Food Standards in the Palm Oil Industry: A Comparative Case Study of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea
Year of Study:
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PhD Research

 “Governing through standards” instead of laws and regulation has emerged as one of the central tendencies in the current agro-food system.These private types of regulation have emerged in the form of codes and standards, which may be created and managed by businesses, industry organizations and/or NGOs, governing the behavior of individuals and organizations participating in global value chains.This thesis studies the importance of private forms of governance in the global palm oil industry and its meanings and implications in the local context, by examining a comparative case study of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. In particular, the research asks the question of why certain countries and/or regions upgrade their production processes in terms of adopting sustainability certifications, i.e. the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and others do not. The Philippines will be taken as a case study, which does not exhibit any sustainability certification in their palm oil industry, whereas Papua New Guinea’s palm oil production is approximately 80% certified. The research question will be addressed within a global commodity chain /global value chain/global production network framework and using the literature on agro-food standards as a form of governance.


  • Department of Economics
  • SOAS Food Studies Centre


  • Development economics
  • Agriculture (in particular, political economy of food and agriculture)
  • Global value chains/global commodity chains
  • (micro-)econometric methods