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Expectations on corporate climate action under regulatory uncertainty

Katarina Buhr (Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Stockholm, Sweden)
Mattias Hjerpe (Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden and Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management

ISSN: 1756-8692

Article publication date: 2 November 2012

453

Abstract

Purpose

In absence of extensive regulation, expectations can be a noteworthy institutional pressure driving corporate climate change action. The purpose of this study is to explore expectations on businesses to act on climate change when the anticipations for a new global climate agreement are relatively low. Expectations on corporate climate action are compared in two ways: to the previous year, when anticipations for a new international climate treaty were high, and to other categories of societal actors.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper builds on a questionnaire handed out to an élite sample of 205 participants at the UN climate conference COP16/CMP6 in Cancún 2010, when anticipations were low for regulatory breakthrough in the international climate negotiations.

Findings

The responses suggest that expectations on businesses in 2010 did not decrease compared to 2009, when anticipations were high for regulatory breakthrough. A total of 40 percent of the respondents indicated that their expectations had increased since the previous year. Expectations on businesses were relatively high compared to other societal actors; and the highest expectations were expressed by businesses themselves.

Originality/value

The results provide an empirical foundation which stimulates thinking around expectations that make up an important component in the business environment. It is the first systematic ranking of expectations on business to act on climate change among participants at the UN climate change conference, one of the most prominent arenas in the field. The timing for the data collection provides a unique opportunity to analyse how expectations are related to different levels of regulatory anticipation.

Keywords

Citation

Buhr, K. and Hjerpe, M. (2012), "Expectations on corporate climate action under regulatory uncertainty", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 403-419. https://doi.org/10.1108/17568691211277737

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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