To See and Be Seen: Technological Change and Power in Deforestation Driving Global Value Chains

Caleb Gallemore*, Izabela Delabre, Kristjan Jespersen, Ting Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


New digital tools for monitoring forest- and land-cover change have made it easier for civil society actors to call firms to account for deforestation. In response, companies in deforestation-linked global value chains (GVCs) have turned to these technologies themselves. In contrast to many case analyses of technology in GVCs, which focus on how technology changes production processes, forcing governance to adapt, forest-monitoring technologies change governance directly. Synthesising work on transaction characteristics and power relations in GVCs to address this novel situation, we argue that monitoring technologies’ effects on GVCs will likely depend on their accessibility. Proprietary technologies favour large-scale operations and already established lead firms, while open technologies could support democratization. Treating forest- and value-chain information as a public good could support more inclusive, equitable and sustainable value chains.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)615-630
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 25 June 2022.


  • Deforestation
  • Global value station
  • Governance
  • Palm oil
  • Power relations
  • Technologies

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