About Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations

Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity. This new book examines the central role of corporations in shaping political and social responses to the climate crisis. The principal message is that despite the need for dramatic economic and political change, corporate capitalism continues to rely on the maintenance of ‘business as usual’.

Despite representing a profoundly significant influence, many of the corporate world’s responses to climate change can more accurately be described as narratives or, better still, myths. Like Plato’s original Noble Lie, they function to further an agenda and maintain the status quo. It is easy enough to condemn these myths. It is easy to become angry about them and to rail against the self-serving short-termism they epitomise. But until we fully appreciate quite how brilliantly they satisfy their purpose, until we grasp how sublimely they protect the interests of their instigators and risk betraying those of everyone else, the meaningful alternatives that are so desperately required will remain disturbingly elusive. Our hope is that our overall argument will encourage and support a double-movement of much-needed regulation and more local and democratic responses.

Based on original research by two leading professors of organisational studies, the book explores the different processes through which corporations engage with climate change. Key discussion points include climate change as business risk; corporate climate politics; the role of justification and compromise; and managerial identity and emotional reactions to climate change. Written for researchers and graduate students, this book moves beyond descriptive and normative approaches to provide a sociologically and critically informed theory of corporate responses to climate change.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Clive Hamilton
1. Climate change and corporate capitalism
2. Creative self-destruction and the incorporation of critique
3. Climate change and the corporate construction of risk
4. Corporate political activity and climate coalitions
5. Justification, compromise and corruption
6. Climate change, managerial identity and narrating the self
7. Emotions, corporate environmentalism and climate change
8. Political myths and pathways forward
9. Imagining alternatives

The Authors

Christopher Wrightimg_5503_edited-4 is Professor of Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney Business School. He has researched and published widely in the areas of management knowledge diffusion, organisational change and consultancy. His current research explores organizational and societal responses to climate change, with a particular focus on how managers and business organizations interpret and respond to climate change. You can also find him on Twitter and his blog Climate People & Organizations.



Daniel Nyberg
 is Professor of Management at Newcastle Business School and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney
. His research focuses on political activities in and by organizations. His current research explores this in projects on how corporations respond to climate change, engage in public debates and influence democracy.