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Corporate Strategies for Managing Climate Risks


Correspondence to: Timo Busch, ETH Zurich, Weinbergstrasse 56/58, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:


This paper focuses on organizations and their management of climate risks. Climate risks stem from continued changes in climate means and the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. We ask whether companies also apply the usual process of corporate risk management to climate risks. In seeking to answer this question, we review several literature streams in order to set out an initial theoretical reflection. Based on this we conducted an exploratory case study with 11 electric utilities. Our results illustrate that these companies perceive climatic changes as a material issue for their business. However, management has restricted knowledge about such climatic changes and thus cannot precisely determine the potential negative impacts on business activities. As a consequence, the companies have implemented a climate risk management that does not differ from the usual process of managing other business risks. Our results further illustrate that there is some variation in how individual firms manage climate risks: While risk identification and risk assessment are equally important for all electric utilities, there are differences in how management determines the direction of the individual response to climate risks. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.