ABSTRACT

This chapter relates to the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)-funded research project ‘“Getting down to business”: Economic responses to climate change’, which involved the first two authors. 1 It studied the (potential) contribution of business to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and how the realities of business can be taken into account in policy-making to help further common objectives. It built on earlier research that found that the position of mainstream oil, car and electricity-producing companies towards climate change has shifted considerably over the last decade (Kolk 2008; Kolk and Levy 2004). When government support for an international agreement in Kyoto turned out to be more widespread than initially expected, an increasing number of companies in these sectors stopped their opposition to measures for dealing with climate 49change. What is more, even companies in sectors that do not depend on carbon-intensive fossil fuels to the same extent have also embraced climate change as a business issue, and there is now broad-based support for the position that climate change (policy) will substantially influence business operations. This set in motion a wave of corporate activities and initiatives to reduce emissions, through product and process improvements, exchange of technologies and expertise, and the exploration of new modes of governance such as emissions trading and cross-sectoral partnerships: that is, cooperation with other companies, government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) (Kolk and Pinkse 2004, 2005, 2007; Pinkse and Kolk 2009).