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Accepted Paper:

Crossroads to corporate climate action: insights from Japanese and German climate activists  
Solange Annaik Commelin (Universität Hamburg)

Short abstract:

The influence of various stakeholders on corporate climate responses is a saturated field, with climate movements as an exception. This study addresses movements’ perspectives on corporations climate impact, offering insights into a promising research subject requiring further attention.

Long abstract:

Corporations lag in rapid decarbonization efforts, prompting studies on their climate change responses. These studies assess internal and external factors influencing sustainability transformation, with many focusing on stakeholders.

Climate movements, despite their influence on the climate change debate, have been largely overlooked. Their lack of formal stakeholder role, their call for urgency, and lack of power vis-à-vis corporations confines them to the stakeholder fringe, despite their potential to support corporate transformation processes (as they have in politics, consumption patterns, etc.). With respect to their potential as drivers of decarbonization, this paper moves them from the fringe, placing them at the center of a stakeholder assessment from a multinational perspective (Japan and Germany). A grounded theory approach is implemented using data from 20 interviews and social media feeds.

Activists emphasize corporations’ significant role in the climate crisis. They describe areas in need of change (within and around businesses) and provide insights into how protest activity could drive this transformation. Observations carry individual, place-based nuances with varying approaches between the two countries. Moreover, activists' reflections on corporations lead them to reject careers in unsustainable or growth-oriented firms, adding a long-term dimension to their influence.

Although organizations may sideline movements, movements closely monitor corporations. Activists not only evaluate corporate impact but also devise strategies to pressure transformation. This assessment hints at a promising relationship but underscores the need for more in-depth and diverse evaluations of those beyond (but also willing to break down) the factory fence.

Traditional Open Panel P255
Making and doing industrial decarbonisation: firms, employees and the world beyond the factory fence.
  Session 1 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -