AAC Council Members


The VSS Academic Advisory Council gathers an international and multi-disciplinary mix of academic experts involved in research on voluntary sustainability standards. Through its annual conferences, it offers the opportunity to discuss the latest research as well as ‘hot topics’ on VSS (see Objectives of the AAC).

The AAC permanent members will typically be invited to the AAC annual conferences, gathering academics from diverse backgrounds and, potentially, other stakeholders in the VSS system (with a stakeholder member status). However, participation in the AAC annual conferences is not mandatory. Participating members on the other hand, are not required to present their latest research or papers during the annual conferences but are rather expected to provide input to the discussions, drawing on their expertise and their knowledge of the literature on VSS.

Axel Marx
Deputy Director, Leuven Centre for Global Governance
KU Leuven

Bernard Hoekman
Director, Global Economics at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute

Mercedes Aráoz Fernández
Former Vice President of Peru, Professor of Economics
Universidad del Pacifico

Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba
Chief VSS Program
UNFSS Coordinator


Membership of the AAC is by invitation. As the AAC is striving for global reach, applications are welcome.
The following criteria will be used to assess membership of the AAC:

  • Affiliation to an academic institution
  • Geographical location
  • Disciplinary background
  • At least 5 publications focusing explicitly on voluntary sustainability standards
  • Publication on VSS in the last 3 years
  • At least 5 years seniority as a post-doctoral researcher at an academic institutions

Members’ appointment procedure will be based on ensuring a balanced representation of countries/universities of affiliation and of different disciplines involved in VSS research.
Membership in the AAC is free of charge.
Names, academic affiliations, and hyperlink to publication list of permanent members may be referenced.

Archna Negi
Associate Professor
Jawarhalal Nehru University, India

Ariel Hernandez
Managing Global Governance/ Uni Duisburg-Essen

Benjamin Cashore
Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore

Clara Brandi
Senior Researcher
German Development Institute

Elizabeth A. Bennett
Joseph M. Ha Associate Professor of International Affairs and Director of Political Economy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Carr Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Engela Schlemmer
University of the Witwatersrand

Eve Fouilleux
Research Director
CIRAD – French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development

Eric Lambin
Professor and Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment
Stanford Woods Institute

Graeme Auld
Director, School of Public Policy and Administration
Carleton University

Hamish van der Ven
Assistant Professor
University of British Columbia

Jan Orbie
Ghent University

Janina Grabs
Assistant Professor of Business and Society at the Department of Society, Politics and Sustainability at ESADE Business School, Barcelona

Jorge Pérez
Universidad Anáhuac, Mexico

Junji Nakagawa
Professor, Institute of Social Science
University of Tokyo

Kimberly Ann Elliott
Non-Resident Fellow
Center for Global Development

Li Li
Associate Professor, Institute of International Economy, University of International Business and Economics

Lars Gulbrandsen
Deputy Director / Research Director Climate and Energy, Fridtjof Nansen Institute

Marcelo Olarreaga
Dean, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva

Miet Maertens
Professor in Agricultural and Development Economics, University of Leuven

Michida Etsuyo
Deputy Director
Institute of Developing Economies, JETRO Japan

Rachael Garrett
Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy
Department of Environmental Systems Science and Humanities, Social and Political Science, ETH Zürich

Robert Heilmayr
Assistant Professor
University of California, Santa Barbara

Philip Schleifer
Assistant Professor
University of Amsterdam

Shaila Seshia Galvin
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Stefano Ponte
Professor, Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), Copenhagen Business School

Thomas Dietz
University of Muenster

Vera Thorstensen
Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil

Verena Bitzer
Research Fellow
Maastricht University

Ximena Rueda Fajardo
Associate Professor, Faculty of Administration
Universitat de los Andes