Purpose - The purpose of this study is to provide a systematic literature review related to environmental upgrading in Global Value Chains (GVCs) and suggest possible future research agendas in advancing environmental upgrading and ultimately GVC boundaries. Research design, data, and methodology - The academic databases such as Science Direct, EBSCO, ProQuest and Google Scholar were explored using a structured keywords searches to identify relevant research in the environmental upgrading area in GVCs. Only relevant papers were selected after reading the abstracts, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results - Overall analysis of the literature review suggests two critical developments in the field of environmental upgrading. The first and foremost major development is an enhanced understanding of environmental upgrading as a concept and phenomenon. The second significant development is that environmental upgrading has been empirically proven to be fundamentally based on relationships and power structures within GVCs. Conclusions - Environmental upgrading in GVCs has been studied individually and not in relation to financial outcomes and social upgrading. Hence, the relationship of environmental upgrading with financial outcomes and social upgrading needs to be investigated. Furthermore, the impact of the interaction of varying institutional structures on environmental upgrading is worthy of future study.


Governance, Global Value Chains (GVCs), Systematic Literature Review, Environmental Upgrading, Institutions, Future Research Agenda.