Climate Change and the Governance of Corporations: Lessons from the Retail Sector

Climate change represents the most important environmental challenge of our time. Organisations are responding by implementing governance processes and taking action to reduce their own emissions and the emissions from their supply chains and value chains. Yet very little is known about how these efforts contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (if, indeed, they make any substantive contribution at all) or about how they might be harnessed to deliver more ambitious reductions in emissions.

This book explains when and where particular forms of governance intervention – including internal governance processes and external governance pressures – are likely to impact climate change. From this analysis, it offers practical proposals on the climate policy frameworks that need to be in place to facilitate or accelerate changes in corporate behaviour.

The book is truly global: it focuses on the world’s 25 largest retailers (including Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, Sears and Aldi) and is based on detailed interviews with senior managers from these corporations, and with key global and national NGOs, corporate responsibility experts, politicians and regulators. These interviews provide clear insights into how external governance pressures and actions (public opinion, regulation, incentives) interact with internal governance conditions (management systems and processes, corporate policies, board/CEO leadership) to change and shape corporate actions on climate change and, in turn, the climate change impacts of these corporations.

This book can be used as a core reference for any courses dealing with corporate governance and business strategy, in particular those relating to climate change and to environmental management more generally. It is also of relevance to business practitioners, public policy makers, investors and NGOs interested in ensuring that companies play a constructive role in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Sullivan, R. and A. Gouldson, 2020. Climate Change and the Governance of Corporations: Lessons from the Retail Sector. Routledge. (ISBN: 9780367497187).

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