Our new book Climate Change, Capitalism, and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction has just been published. Based on research that Daniel Nyberg and I have been conducting over the last 6 years, the book explores the complex relationship that the corporate world has with climate change and the central role corporations play in shaping political and social responses to the climate crisis.
In the book, we explore the different processes through which corporations engage with climate change. 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’. As outlined in this short summary in The Conversation this involves the myth that ‘green’ capitalism is a viable response to the climate crisis. This response enables the incorporation of critique and the maintenance of corporate capitalism despite the dire environmental consequences.
Key discussion points in the book include:
- climate change as business risk;
- corporate climate politics;
- the role of justification and compromise;
- managerial identity and emotional reactions to climate change; and
- the political myths of creative self-destruction
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.
The book includes a Foreword by renowned ethics philosopher and academic Clive Hamilton and has already attracted advance praise from leading researchers such as Andy Hoffman, Michael Mann and Peter Dauvergne, and environmental activists including Bill McKibben and David Ritter.
This book makes clear that climate change is not a ‘problem’ for which there can be a ‘solution’. It requires a re-examination of the core structures of our society, and in particular our economy. Using solid research and analysis, Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg untangle the complex and multiple ways that corporations are shaping humanity’s response to the climate crisis, ways that are unfortunately inadequate to the challenge at hand. In this engaging text, we are challenged to envision alternative futures that will, indeed they must, challenge how we think, who we are, and how we relate to each other and to the natural world around us.
Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor and Director of the Erb Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan.
It’s possible that there’s no greater example of corporate irresponsibility than climate change – I mean, these companies melted the Arctic, and then rushed to drill in the open water. Thank heaven the authors of this book are beginning the necessary work of calling them to account. If we can break their power then we have a fighting chance against global warming; if not, the ruined earth will be their legacy.
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
With the phenomenon of human-caused climate change, we have arrived at a point in history where technological progress is now threatening, rather than facilitating, societal welfare. How is it that we have arrived at this point? And what can we do to right the ship? Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg, address these and other key questions in the very readable, crisp, and well-researched book Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-destruction. I recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to learn more not only about how corporations have shaped our response to climate change but also re-imagining alternatives to our current path.
Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University; author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.
In these crucial years to save the global climate, Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg have written an important book, boldly explaining the role of big business in global warming. By going inside the minds and boardrooms of big corporations, the authors give us extraordinary insight into not only how businesses think about climate change, but also the creative self-destruction they are unleashing. Scholarly, yet easy to read, this is an essential contribution to understanding the role of big business in climate change – and what we can do to challenge it.
David Ritter, Chief Executive Officer, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg shatter the myth of corporate social responsibility as a solution for our climate crisis. Their compelling and hard-hitting analysis exposes the raw destructive power of capitalism – of unsustainable growth, corporations, and consumption. A stable future is still possible. But not unless the world’s elite sit bolt upright and listen hard to Wright and Nyberg.
Peter Dauvergne, Professor of International Relations, University of British Columbia.