Common problem, varying strategies

Multinational corporations are not merely the problem in environmental concerns, but could also be part of the solution. The oil industry and climate change provide the clearest example of how the two are linked; what is less well known is how the industry is responding to these concerns. This book presents a detailed study of the climate strategies of ExxonMobil, Shell and Statoil. Using an analytical approach, the chapters explain variations at three decision-making levels: within the companies themselves, in the national home-bases of the companies and at an international level. The analysis generates policy-relevant knowledge about whether and how corporate resistance to a viable climate policy can be overcome. The analytical approach developed by this book is also applicable to other areas of environmental degradation where multinational corporations play a central role.

2543Chap3 16/7/03 9:58 am Page 43 3 The climate strategies of the oil industry Oil companies want to sell as much oil and gas as possible at the highest possible price. Still, a quick glance at the web pages of Shell, ExxonMobil and Statoil (as well as other US and Europeanbased oil companies) reveals significant differences in their perceptions of climate change. What are the strategies adopted by ExxonMobil, the Shell Group and Statoil on the climate issue? Do they merely use different rhetoric to please their clients, consumers and employees, or is the

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2543Chap2 16/7/03 9:57 am Page 12 2 Analytical framework This chapter outlines the analytical framework of our empirical analysis. Our point of departure is to identify the sources of corporate strategy choice: what factors determine the strategies chosen by the oil industry to meet climate-change challenges? We explore the impact of three main groups of factors, related to: (1) company-specific features; (2) the political context of corporate activity at the domestic level; (3) the international institutional context in which multinational companies

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2543Chap1 16/7/03 9:56 am Page 1 1 Introduction In the prelude to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the oil industry was united in its opposition to binding climate targets. All major oil companies took the position that action on global warming could be damaging to their economic interests since the oil industry earns its livelihood from oil, gas and coal – the main sources of emissions of greenhouse gases. Ten years later, the positions of many oil companies have changed completely. Major European multinational oil

in Climate change and the oil industry

differences in the companies’ climate strategy choice are explained by differences in the companies themselves. The business environmental management literature suggests a host of company-specific factors that may have an impact on strategy choice in relation to an issue such as climate change. We have chosen to focus on three main factors: (1) the environmental risk associated with current and future corporate operations; (2) the environmental reputation of the company; and (3) the company’s capacity for organisational learning. We assume that companies with low

in Climate change and the oil industry

good understanding of Shell’s turnabout from a reactive to a proactive company. Additionally, it is difficult to understand on the basis of the CA and DP models why ExxonMobil did not modify its reactive strategy in the four-year period from the US’s signing of the Kyoto Protocol until Bush Jr was elected president. In this chapter, we shift our focus from the domestic to the international level. To what extent can the international climate regime explain the strategies chosen by the oil industry? Climate change is a global problem partly caused by global actors

in Climate change and the oil industry

located their headquarters and have their main activities. This chapter is structured as follows. In the first section, we shall explore social demand for climate policy, while the second section will take us to the actual supply of climate policy. The third section is concerned with the political institutions linking supply and demand, and the relationship between each company and its national political context is summarised in the concluding section. Social demand for environmental and climate change protection Social demand for environmental protection affects

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climatechange regulation. In the early 1990s, the oil industry was united in its opposition to binding climate targets. A precondition for a viable climate regime is thus a change in the strategies of large multinational oil companies. Governments depend on the active or reluctant cooperation of this industry for mitigating climate change. The identification of conditions that determine how the climate strategies of major oil companies are formed may thus provide us with knowledge about the extent to which and how corporate support for a viable climate policy can be

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Four Decisive Challenges Confronting Humanitarian Innovation

growing environmental stress, natural disasters and climate-change impacts ( IFRC, 2018 ; IPBES 2019 ; Myers et al. , 2017 ; Whitmee et al. , 2015 ). The World Health Organization ( WHO, 2016 ) estimated that exposure to ‘unhealthy environments’ caused 12.6 million deaths in 2012, with South East Asia and Western Pacific bearing the highest burden, of 7.3 million deaths. In 2015, exposure to environmental pollution was responsible for 16 per cent of deaths worldwide

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editors’ Introduction

and interrogate its potentials and pitfalls. The research article by Finnigan and Farkas moves the innovation debate forward by outlining the challenges involved in conceiving of innovation in a holistic sense and beyond technical fixes or laboratories. Among other things, the paper pays particular attention to the dynamics of climate change and rapid urbanisation in its call for the humanitarian sector to address four critical challenges in order to be able to provide meaningful assistance to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs