Journal article: the business of rapid transition

By Peter Newell on 27 July 2020

As long as there have been attempts to develop policy on climate change at national, regional and international levels, businesses have been involved in shaping, delivering and resisting responses to the issue. This paper reviews some of these imaginative examples of business‐led rapid transition.

The paper argues that whilst there is a large literature dealing with business responses to climate change from a range of perspectives and disciplines from business and management studies to sustainability scholars and political scientists, covering issues such as corporate strategy and public policy engagement, the question of the nature and speed of change now required, and whether there are historical and contemporary precedents for accelerated transitions within and beyond business must assume a more central place in our research.

This must be alongside growing efforts to understand how business will adapt to climate chaos. This conclusion implies a closer engagement and cross‐fertilisation of ideas with scholars of sustainability transitions, for example. Here, there is growing interest in the question of how to accelerate transitions, but where greater attention is required to the role of business actors.

Read the full article here.

© 2020 Peter Newell. WIREs Climate Change published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Peter Newell

Peter Newell is Research Director of the Rapid Transition Alliance. He is Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on the political economy of low carbon energy transitions and global climate change politics. He is currently an ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow and is on the Board of Directors of Greenpeace UK and Carbon Market Watch in Brussels. His books include Climate for Change, Governing Climate Change, Climate Capitalism and The Politics of Green Transformations.