Imposing versus Enacting Commitments for the Long-Term Energy Transition: Perspectives from the Firm

Societal stakeholders in many developed economies are increasingly pushing for a long-term energy (LTE) transition from high carbon-emitting energy supply to lower emission and even emission-free energy sources. For most of these stakeholders, the societal debate on the merits of an LTE transition is over, and in their minds the remaining implementation challenges relate to the timing and scope of this transition across industries and locations: how can the LTE transition be accelerated and how can it be broadened to cover as many industries and geographic milieus as possible?

But as is usually the case in business, one size does not fit all when large-scale capital investments and innovation activities are involved. The timing and scope of the LTE transition appear to vary greatly across country and industry contexts. The sufficient condition for an LTE transition is that business firms operating in sectors with the highest GHG emissions respond to the market and non-market forces at play by enacting these imposed commitments via investments and innovation. In a recent article published in the British Journal of Management, Professor Alain Verbeke (University of Calgary) and Professor Thomas Hutzschenreuter (TUM) propose a framework linking commitments imposed on firms by market and non-market forces to affect GHG emissions with firm-level behavior enacting these imposed commitments towards the LTE transition.

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