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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business | 2014
Thesis number: 14641
Global giants and climate change: How do world's largest companies respond to the challenge
Author: Aho, Lotta
Title: Global giants and climate change: How do world's largest companies respond to the challenge
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; ympäristönsuojelu; environmental protection; kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies
Pages: 87
Key terms: climate change,; corporate social responsibitity,; regulation,; institutional theory,; isomorphism
Following the failure of climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010 to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol - the only legally binding global accord on tackling climate change thus far - has caused a situation where the future of climate policy is uncertain. Even with-out an international agreement emission reductions are still called for, in both upstream and downstream activities, and for businesses and consumers. What will be the role of multinational corporations (MNCs) in these climate change mitigation efforts?

In this Master's Thesis the purpose is to compare how the 10 largest companies in the world re-spond and react to the threat of climate change. The two main research questions for this study are in the first place; how do corporate social responsibility and external pressure from the civil socie-ty impact the companies' approach and activities towards emission reductions compared to regula-tion by market-based instruments? And secondly whether the companies are just fulfilling the regulatory requirements or following the perceived issue leader(s) i.e. are they engaging in iso-morphism in this field? In my sample there are two companies from the USA, three from EU coun-tries, two from Japan and three from China. Therefore my sample covers 5 companies from Kyoto regulated and 5 from Kyoto unregulated home country frameworks.

Based on the sample analyzed in this Master's Thesis it can be said that companies under regulato-ry requirements to reduce their emissions appear to reduce them more. Their absolute emissions are lower and also the ratio GHG per revenue is lower. It also seems that their approach to climate change mitigation is more active and their activities have somewhat more long-term perspective instead of just collecting the low-hanging fruits. Furthermore the results indicate that there are traces of global isomorphism in not only CSR reporting but also in activities regarding climate change.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.