The Role of International Business in Clean Technology Transfer and Development

Climate Policy, 2013

12 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2013

See all articles by Ans Kolk

Ans Kolk

University of Amsterdam Business School

Date Written: January 30, 2013


While research has generated useful very insights, usually at the macro level, regarding the multi-faceted nature of environmental innovation and regulation, the characteristics and drivers peculiar to international companies have remained underexposed in the policy-related literature on clean technology transfer and development. This article aims to help open the ‘black box’ of business, also as input for future policy-making, by discussing aspects that influence corporate responses: sector-specific and company-specific peculiarities as well as those related to country contexts (both origin countries and host countries to companies). Most of the climate-related investments in ‘developing’ countries turn out to have been geared to a few emerging economies, generally involving established technologies with limited transfer, and a major role for developed-country utilities, particularly from Europe. Despite these limitations, there is a base with experience being built up, and a potential for extension to lesser-developed areas, but that requires market co-creation by joint business and governmental efforts. As viable business models are largely lacking, the article suggests three main modalities, ranging from fully commercial to primarily publicly funded, involving different types of actors and countries. Gearing policies more toward corporate realities and reaping the international momentum of sustainable energy might also further climate goals.

Keywords: Corporate strategies, climate change, multinationals, institutional contexts, renewable energy, technology transfer

JEL Classification: D21, F23, F35, G38, H70, K32, L1, L21, M1, O19, O33, O38, Q4, Q42, Q48

Suggested Citation

Kolk, Ans, The Role of International Business in Clean Technology Transfer and Development (January 30, 2013). Climate Policy, 2013, Available at SSRN:

Ans Kolk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
+31 20 525 4289 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5281 (Fax)


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