This report discusses in-depth the possibilities and limitations of VSS to make international trade more sustainable, in particular with regards to developing countries development opportunities. It first introduces the key concepts of trade, global value chains, sustainable development, their interrelatedness and their importance for developing countries. It argues that global value chains can be governed in a way which enhances economic, social and environmental ‘upgrading’, i.e. a process by which negative social and environmental consequences are addressed in global value chains and which contributes to better protection of social and environmental standards. It shows that upgrading through the governance of global value chains directly allows producers in developing countries to access global markets and reap their potential benefits contributing in this way to economic development in developing countries.