Corporate net zero pledges: a triumph of private climate regulation or more greenwash?

Anita Foerster, Michael Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Corporate pledges to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in line with the international Paris Agreement on climate change are proliferating around the world, including in Australia. Regulatory drivers include corporate law obligations to identify, disclose and manage climate-related financial risks, as well as a complex web of rapidly developing private regulatory initiatives. Non-state actors such as institutional investors, industry bodies and civil society, are increasingly involved in developing best practice standards for climate risk disclosure and management, engaging with companies to drive their uptake, and in some cases, litigating to embed best practice expectations and hold companies accountable for their climate commitments and performance. Although underlying corporate law obligations are climate-neutral and focus on transparency and process, the associated private climate regulation is increasingly organised around substantive Paris-aligned standards. Drawing on an empirical study of large Australian listed companies, this article explores whether private climate regulation is helping to drive robust corporate climate commitments, target-setting and associated activities, which have the potential to deliver real-world emissions reductions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-142
Number of pages33
JournalGriffith Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Net-zero emissions
  • climate targets
  • Corporate accountability and responsibility

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