Title: Carbon management strategies - a quest for corporate competitiveness

Authors: Timo Busch; Julia Schwarzkopf

Addresses: University of Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 9, 20146 Hamburg, Germany ' ETH Zurich, Weinbergstrasse 56/58, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland

Abstract: This multiple case study analysis examines the extent to which five global car manufacturers apply carbon management strategies. Following a clear business strategy standpoint, the theoretical arguments are based on a framework developed by Orsato (2006). For this context, we highlight two key differences between carbon management and general environment strategies: the option of compensation and the demand for life-cycle efforts by stakeholders. Our analysis is based on eight carbon management strategies reflecting both carbon reduction and compensation strategies. The results show that the car manufacturers tend to embark on similar strategies in terms of carbon reductions, but less so for carbon compensation. Drawing on institutional theory, we explain this result by a lack of clearly established and widely expressed stakeholder expectations regarding carbon compensation. We conclude that carbon compensation may not yet be fully exploited and thus could be a short-term option when seeking competitive advantages in the automotive industry.

Keywords: carbon management; strategy development; climate change; industrial organisation; institutional theory; automobile industry; automotive manufacturing; corporate competitiveness; car manufacturers; carbon reduction; carbon compensation; carbon emissions.

DOI: 10.1504/PIE.2013.055053

Progress in Industrial Ecology, An International Journal, 2013 Vol.8 No.1/2, pp.4 - 29

Received: 15 Jun 2012
Accepted: 20 Feb 2013

Published online: 08 Apr 2015 *

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