Through a detailed qualitative analysis, we examined company reports, media releases, policy statements, and over 70 interviews conducted with senior managers from these companies. During this period, climate change became a central issue in political and economic debate, leading to a range of regulatory, market, and physical risks and opportunities. Each of these five companies were at the leading edge of corporate engagement with this issue.
Despite operating within different industry contexts (energy, manufacturing, banking, insurance, and media), we found a common pattern of response over time: initial statements of climate leadership degenerated into the more mundane concerns of conventional business activity. In other words, talk of addressing climate change because it was the right thing to do eventually became a conversation about how climate change initiatives affected the bottom line.