The adoption of cleaner technology (CT) has the potential to play an important role in tackling the impacts of business on climate change on business. It is therefore important to understand the factors motivating the adoption of CT in business. Using a technology–firm–stakeholder framework, this study proposes a perception-based model for the adoption of CT for climate proactivity that is tested against data collected from 106 firms in India. Six factors are tested using a logistic regression and five are found to be significant in distinguishing adopter firms from non-adopter firms. The results suggest that the perception-based model using a technology–firm–stakeholder framework is a useful approach for examining factors affecting the adoption decision. While techno-economic benefits are perceived to be higher by adopter firms than by non-adopter firms, other benefits are not perceived differently by either adopter or non-adopter firms. In addition, adopter firms perceive lower financial costs and higher technical capability than non-adopter firms do. Also, adopter firms perceive higher regulatory pressure but lower stakeholder pressure than non-adopter firms do. Implications of the findings and future research areas are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.