Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
GEM Initiative at Yale University
Governance, Environment,
and Markets Initiative

Who We Are

Ben Cashore
Ben Cashore is Professor of Environmental Governance and Political Science at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and holds a courtesy appointment in Yale’s Department of Political Science. He is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Business and Government at Yale, and the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry.

His research interests focus on non-state market-driven environmental governance, the impact and opportunities of globalization and internationalization on domestic and local environmental policy, firm-level “beyond compliance” sustainability initiatives, and comparative environmental policy.  He is a prolific author of books and articles that integrate public policy, corporate social responsibility and international environmental governance.

His work has won a number of awards/distinctions including winning the International Studies Association’s Sprout Award for the best book on international environmental policy and politics for, Governing Through Markets: Forest Certification and the Emergence of Non-state Authority (with Graeme Auld and Deanna Newsom),

He serves, or has served, on the editorial boards of the Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, Business and Politics, the Journal of Forest Policy and Economics, and the Journal of Sustainable Forestry.

Doctoral Students

Chelsea Judy
Chelsea Judy is a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. As a political economist, her research centers on agricultural development and deforestation/ forest degradation in the tropics, specifically the Amazonian Basin and sub-Saharan Africa. She currently serves as the Director for GEM's program on Land Use Change and Globalization. Prior to coming to Yale, Chelsea earned her Master's in Public Policy from the University of Melbourne in Australia as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar where she focused on the socio-economic impacts of environmental policy on Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Currently, she focuses on income inequality in the developing world and indigenous livelihoods and how capital flows to local communities can ultimately shape land use change patterns. She is particularly interested in how remote sensing data and GIS modeling can detect patterns of resource inequalities and ultimately inform policy decisions designed to effectively tackle deforestation and forest degradation. Her dissertation will focus on exploring these questions.
Michaela Foster
Michaela Foster Laepple is a PhD Candidate at Yale University in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of forest conservation policies in developing countries and, in particular, on understanding how governance shapes impacts on forests. In her dissertation, she assesses the impact of land use zoning policies on deforestation in Uganda. She was a recipient of the Yale Fox International Fellowship to Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany in the 2017-2018 academic year. She holds a MPhil from Yale, MS in Natural Resources from North Carolina State University, and a BA in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Duke University.

Postdocs and Visiting Scholars

Yixian Sun web
Yixian Sun is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and also an affiliate of the Yale MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. He studies transnational governance, voluntary standards, and sustainable consumption, with a regional focus on emerging economies, China in particular. Yixian received his PhD (2018) and Master’s degree in International Relations / Political Science (2014) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. His book project examines the diffusion of private sustainability certification in China. Yixian’s research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including the Review of International Political Economy, Global Environmental Politics, and VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. At GEM, Yixian is leading and engaging several projects on global supply chain governance, sustainability standards, and climate and forest policy in developing countries and emerging economies. His research has been funded by Swiss National Science Foundation.
Janina Grabs web
Janina Grabs is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Münster, Germany, and a 2018-19 Visiting Assistant in Research at Yale University. She studies the options of states, firms, NGOs and other actors to improve the environmental and social sustainability of commodity production. Her dissertation research, undertaken in the junior researcher group TRANSSUSTAIN, focused on the effectiveness of sustainability governance through private regulation in international value chains, with a special focus on coffee. In her next project, she will investigate the implementation and effectiveness of corporate supply chain commitments in shifting supply chain structures, focusing on zero-deforestation commitments in the tropics and subtropics.

She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Münster, an MSc in Agricultural and Food Economics from Bonn University, an MSc in Business and Economics from the Swedish Agricultural University (SLU), and a BA in Political Science from McGill University. Before returning to academia, she worked for the European Commission’s DG AGRI and the German development cooperation GIZ. She is passionate about transdisciplinary research and working on the science-policy interface. In this function, she has consulted the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), co-chaired the EKLIPSE Expert Working Group on Business and Biodiversity, and engaged with actors in the coffee sector, such as the Specialty Coffee Association, in their quest for sustainability.
nihit goyal web
Nihit Goyal is a PhD Candidate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and a 2018-19 Fox International Fellow at the MacMillan Center, Yale University. Nihit specializes in comparative public policy research on energy, climate change, and sustainability  using a mix of data science, econometrics, and qualitative techniques. Using a mixed methods design, his doctoral thesis examines subnational variation in energy policy activities and outcomes in India to identify triggers for accelerating the Indian energy transition.

Masters Students

Sundara Bhandaram web
Sundara Bhandaram is a Master of Environmental Management candidate who is specializing in business and industrial ecology. She previously worked at the American Forest & Paper Association in Washington, DC on environmental policy issues for the American forest products industry. She received her B.S. in earth system science from the University of California, Irvine.
Moraga Lewy web
Nora Moraga-Lewy is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at Yale F&ES. Nora assists with GEM Lab administration and works on a global forest policy research project by reviewing and evaluating the stringency and durability of for forest policies and management practices in US jurisdictions. Nora is also a Kerry Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where she conducts research on various issues ranging from climate change and Arctic security to democracy in Latin America. Before F&ES, Nora worked at the Environmental Law Institute and received a BA in Environmental Studies from Yale College.
Maggie Yuan Yao web
Maggie Yuan Yao is a dual degree student at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Johns Hopkins SAIS. Her research interests include renewable energy, carbon footprint, air pollution, and remote sensing.

Prior to FES, she worked on projects ranging from US electricity market, deforestation in DRC, and China's foreign investment to nuclear nonproliferation. She also conducted research on China's freight traffic and night lights for a think tank in Saudi Arabia. She received her BA in Political Economy from University of California Berkeley in 2015. She grew up in Tianjin, China and she enjoys traveling, yoga, and barre in her free time.

Recently Graduated GEM Doctoral Students

Michael Stone Profile Picture.jpg
Michael Stone has led the program on Forest Governance and Policy since 2009. He has focused his research on forest governance from a comparative political perspective. He has worked in international forestry issues since completing a Fulbright Fellowship in China at the Chinese Center for Agricultural Policy, part of the Chinese Academy of Science. His research has focused primarily on 1) community forestry, 2) environmental governance, and 3) the relationship between governance, trade and the environment. His work aims to use many different methodological approaches to look a variety of political contexts, but always using impacts on forests as the primary lens. Recent publications he co-authored include: “Narrating Illegal Logging Across the Globe. Between Green Protectionism and Sustainable Resource Use.” and “Does California need Delaware? Explaining Indonesian, Chinese, and United States support for legality compliance of internationally traded products.” Michael’s publications also demonstrate his longstanding interests in non-state governance and political science methodology. Articles such as “Impacts of the Lacey Act Amendment and the Voluntary Partnership Agreements on illegal logging: implications for global forest governance.” and “Methods and Global Environmental Governance.” show his embrace of both qualitative and quantitative methods where appropriate.
Michael’s dissertation applies these interests by doing an in-depth historical-institutionalist analysis of the global shift towards legality verification policies. Michael demonstrates that there are key variables that explain why the United States, China, and Indonesia shifted to supporting these policies but also explain why others, in his example Malaysia, failed to shift. This research is important for explaining the latest developments in non-state governance and have important practical and theoretical implications. Legality verification will likely be a key issue shaping international trade of timber and environmental governance issues in the coming decades. Michael is working to demonstrate the limits and possibilities of this approach by studying these issues from many different perspectives. Already Michael has published on this topic used historical institutional, macroeconomic, and discourse analysis methods to ground his research on this area. Accordingly his articles are already some of the most cited in this area of scholarly attention. Michael will receive his PhD from Yale in the Fall of 2016. 
Jasmine Hyman
Jasmine Hyman is currently completing a doctorate at the Yale School of Forestry and the Environment, where she seeks to identify design principles for global climate finance schemes that promote equitable development and social justice. Prior to her research at Yale, Jasmine was the Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Gold Standard Foundation, a certification scheme for greenhouse gas emission reduction projects under the Kyoto Protocol's offset scheme and for the voluntary carbon offset markets in the US and Australia. From 2001-2005, Jasmine worked on climate and sustainable agriculture issues at the Food and Agriculture Or ganization of the United Nations. She was the head writer and correspondent for the International Year of Rice in 2004, where she wrote speeches for the Food and Agriculture Director General and varying representatives to ASEAN. Jasmine began her study of greenhouse gas emission markets in earnest while doing a Masters of Science at the London School of Economics in Environment and Development in 2005. She earned an honors B.A in Urban Studies at Columbia University in 2001. Jasmine's current research is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship; the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.
S├ębastien Jodoin
Prof. Sébastien Jodoin is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law of McGill University and a Faculty Associate of the GEM Initiative at Yale University. He contributes to GEM’s research and activities in environmental policy, climate change, forest governance, sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility. Sébastien holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies from Yale University, an M.Phil. in international relations from the University of Cambridge, an LL.M. in international law from the London School of Economics, and B.C.L. and LL.B. degrees from McGill University. Sébastien has worked for the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, the Canadian Centre for International Justice, Amnesty International Canada, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. He has also served as a consultant for a range of international and non-governmental organisations, including the United Nations, the Climate Land Use Alliance, the World Future Council, Equitable Origin, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, and the International Development Law Organisation. Sébastien has received numerous awards and honours, including the 2012 Public Scholar Award from the Yale Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, a Doctoral Scholarship from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada, and a Public Interest Law Articling Fellowship from the Law Foundation of Ontario. 
Matto Mildenberger

Matto Mildenberger is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research explores the political drivers of policy inaction in the face of serious social and economic threats posed by global climate change. Straddling comparative political economy and political behavior, Mildenberger's work focusses on comparative climate policymaking and the dynamics of US climate opinion. His current book project compares the politics of carbon pricing across advanced economies, with a focus on the history of climate reforms in Australia, Norway and the United States. Other ongoing work explores public environmental behaviors, political ideology, and the relationship between economic and environmental policy preferences. A previous book, Dependent America? How Mexico and Canada Construct US Power (Toronto 2011, with Stephen Clarkson), explored the political economy of North American trade and security relationships. Matto received his PhD from Yale University in December 2015, working under Prof. Cashore. 

Stefan Renckens

Stefan Renckens is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department of the University of Toronto. He teaches courses on public policy, political economy and the environment at the St. George and Scarborough campuses. He is also an Affiliated Faculty member of the Environmental Governance Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs. His current research examines the evolution and impact of transnational private sustainability governance and the interactions with public governance at the international, regional and domestic level. Current issue areas of interest include renewable energy, climate change, fisheries, forestry, electronic waste, agriculture, and fair trade. In his first book project, Stefan examines and explains the varied ways in which the European Union has regulated transnational private governance, and the implications for the functioning and impact of public and private environmental governance. Stefan holds a Ph.D. (2014) and M.Phil. (2011) in Environmental Politics from Yale University, and Master’s degrees in Political Science (2002), Economic Policy (2003), and Conflict and Peace Studies (2005) from the University of Leuven. His Ph.D. dissertation was awarded the 2015 Virginia M. Walsh Dissertation Award by the Science, Technology and Environmental Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. For more information, see www.stefanrenckens.com.