In Jon Birger Skjærseth and Per Ove Eikeland (eds), Corporate Responses to EU Emissions Trading: Resistance, Innovation or Responsibility? Farnham (UK), Ashgate, 2013, pp. 165-208.
This chapter examines how specific cement companies have responded to the climate challenge in general and the mandatory EU ETS in particular. The aim is to detect the mechanisms through which the ETS works, and gain a fuller understanding of the various drivers of change in corporate climate strategies. Our data indicate that climate strategies in the cement sector have become gradually more proactive in the first decade of the 2000s, but with inter-company differences in strategic responses. It is very difficult to ascertain to what extent these changes can be attributed to the ETS, as the scheme works together with, and is conditioned by, a range of other company-external and company-internal factors. However, some cautious conclusions can be drawn. In the short term, the EU ETS has not been able to provide strong economic incentives for strategy changes, due to significant over-allocation of allowances and low carbon prices. Nonetheless, expectations of a more stringent ETS in the near future underpin the companies’ increasingly proactive long-term climate strategies. The trading scheme has put carbon on the corporate agenda, and has contributed to a ‘mind-change’ in the cement companies. We find clear indications that the ETS has directed company attention to previously underexplored or unattended business lines – like energy efficiency measures, clinker substitution and CCS technologies.