Title

Media attention and its impact on corporate commitment to climate change action

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2021

Abstract

The study examines whether the media's attention to a firm shapes its commitment to climate change, and if there is a systematic inter-industry variation in the association between the two variables. Analyzing data drawn from S&P 1500 companies, for the years 2015–2019, we provide robust evidence that heightened media attention accentuates the odds of a firm committing to take more action on climate change. We also demonstrate that the likelihood of companies in environmentally sensitive industries committing to action on climate change is lower, relative to those in other industries. Additionally, membership of a firm in environmentally sensitive industries moderates the form of the association between media coverage of a firm and corporate commitment to action on climate change. Our findings suggest that media-driven environmental legitimacy and reputational costs exceed the investments required to enhance a firm's commitment to climate change action. The findings imply that the agenda setting, salience transfer and issue framing functions of the media could be used to enhance corporate response to climate change issues, particularly the response of those firms that appear to have a lower proclivity towards taking action to address climate change.

Publication Title

Journal of Cleaner Production

Volume Number

313

ISSN

09596526

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