The function of international business frameworks for governing companies’ climate change-related actions toward the 2050 goals

Abstract

At the 22nd Conference of the Parties in 2016, the roles of non-state actors in global climate change were emphasized with a particular focus on international frameworks for corporate activities. Frameworks are intended to serve as international governance to help regulate corporate actions. However, companies’ climate-related activities are voluntary and produce several issues. The current research addresses the following questions: How do international business frameworks work for governing and enforcing the practical implementation of corporate activities? In the future, what functions are expected to work for business sectors ensuring the 2050 goals? This study examines the function of international business frameworks from different perspectives according to socio-environmental challenges, enforcement measures, organizers, and embedded problems. First, the development process of the motivation of corporate activities is examined, from Corporate Social Responsibility to the long-term vision. Second, we conduct a thorough review of the public and private regimes and identify three key components of private regimes to achieve effective, legitimate, and compliant functions: participation, accountability, and norms. These three components are not ensured by one regime, but by different types of international frameworks: industry associations, international organizations, and third parties. This study illustrates how these three types of frameworks work with the key components for enforcement. Furthermore, with increasing expectations for corporate actions, companies are creating their own visions and principles to attain the 2050 global goal. This paper demonstrates that the function of international frameworks is expected to strengthen in terms of supporting and governing a company’s actions.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to express our gratitude to Toru Iwama and Yasuko Kameyama for their very helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this paper. We would also like to acknowledge the useful suggestions from Hiroyuki Tezuka, Yoshiaki Ichikawa, Mitsuaki Komoto, Masato Yoshizawa, Shingo Takeda, Yuri Murakami, Tomoaki Watanabe, Masahiro Sugiyama, and Toshihiko Goto. We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments that helped improve this paper, and would also like to thank the editorial assistance from Editage. This study is supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research: KAKENHI (17H01939) under the auspices of Japan Society of the Promotion of Science.

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Correspondence to Shiro Hori.

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Hori, S., Syugyo, S. The function of international business frameworks for governing companies’ climate change-related actions toward the 2050 goals. Int Environ Agreements 20, 541–557 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10784-020-09475-7

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • International business frameworks
  • Corporate actions
  • Enforcement
  • 2050 Goal