Multinational Business Review


Invites manuscripts for a Special Issue on


"ESG (environment, society, and governance) and climate change issues in multinational enterprises"


Submission deadline: September 15, 2022


Guest Editors:


Su-Yol Lee, Chonnam National University, South Korea, [log in to unmask]

Chang Hoon Oh, University of Kansas, USA, [log in to unmask]

Hyun-Chae Park, Chonnam National University, South Korea, [log in to unmask]

Jorge Rivera, George Washington University, USA, [log in to unmask]



Views of both scholars and practitioners on ESG (environment, society, and governance) have changed drastically in the past decade. Once seen as a niche issue relegated to operational compliance, and fragmented from core corporate strategies, now it is central to boardroom conversations worldwide. Does ESG really matter, or is it just another management fad? There are several reasons why ESG is more than just a fad and why it has recently taken centre stage in business. First, as the most widely accepted metric that operationalizes somewhat blurry corporate sustainability and CSR concepts, ESG is firmly entrenched in finance. ESG-themed investment funds amassed more than $40 trillion in assets as of 2021 (Bloomberg Intelligence, 2021). More than 3,000 institutional investors pledged to incorporate ESG issues into their investment analyses and decision-making processes using the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) (UN PRI, 2022). Second, climate change is accelerating the phenomenon of ESG proliferation. As one of the most pressing grand challenges that government, society, and business circles face. Some estimates suggest that climate change would wipe off up to 18% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) by mid-century unless the world substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions (Guo et al., 2021). Now, the global challenge is to transition to a net-zero economy, balancing between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the mount removed from the atmosphere. To accomplish this goal, we need cooperation on a global scale. Yet, international cooperation has not been effective in this area. Although more than 140 countries, covering 90% of global emissions, announced or considered the net-zero (Climate Action Tracker, 2021), our ability to mitigate climate risk is uncertain.


ESG and climate change have inarguably become essential issues in the international business (IB) literature. In a hyper-globalized economy connected from emerging to developed economies, ESG and climate change response metrics should map and evaluate businesses’ globalized value chains and their impacts (Linnenluecke, 2022). Institutional differences among countries in designing, implementing, and enforcing regulatory policies regarding ESG and climate change remain one of the greatest challenges to multinational enterprises (MNEs) (Fransen et al., 2019; Rivera et al., 2022). Studies have shown that MNEs do not always transfer best practices to their subsidiaries. Managers of MNEs may transfer irresponsible business practices abroad where they are less obvious to home country stakeholders (Surroca et al., 2013; Brammer et al., 2021; Stringer & Michailova, 2018). A conventional belief that trade liberalization is creating a "race to the bottom" and motivating firms to seek pollution havens (e.g., Levinson and Taylor, 2008; McGuire, 1982; Rivera and Oh, 2013) might not be unfounded. On the bright side, however, there are also positive spill-over effects of ESG strategies on performance; perhaps most notably on global value chain networks. For example, Walmart has made a series of sustainability commitments by engaging its more than 100,000 suppliers globally (Walmart, 2022a, 2022b). Walmart's Standard for Suppliers plays as a de facto regulation for its suppliers and serves as momentum to consider ESG issues regardless of where they operate. ESG, climate change, and their deeply involved recent conundrum such as the pandemic and social unrest have led firms to fundamentally rethink and reshape their global and local businesses and value chains to mitigate vulnerabilities (Howard-Grenville et al., 2014 Kano and Oh, 2020; Oh and Oetzel, 2022).


How do ESG and climate change challenge international businesses? How do MNEs strategically address these challenges to achieve competitiveness and simultaneously deliver positive social impact? How should a MNE’s ESG performance adequately address its impact on local stakeholders? How do ESG and climate change interact with geopolitical issues in shaping international business environments? While the emerging body of research expands our understanding of ESG issues in international business, numerous unresolved inquiries on these topics become evident (Rivera et al., 2022; Linnenluecke, 2022). Moreover, there is a gap in the literature to explore the dynamic nature of ESG’s impact on MNEs’ global value networks in the international context (Lee et al., 2014). MNEs may facilitate ESG globally (Nair et al., 2016; Flammer, 2015), while shifting irresponsibility onto other regions (Brammer et al., 2021; Surroca et al., 2013), which requires above and beyond the conventional explanation of a static view. The recent move towards reshoring, nearshoring, and regionalizing global value networks might be an early manifestation of what could become more widespread. In fact, more research on the integration of ESG, climate change, and reshaping of global business networks has been called for (e.g., Howard-Grenville et al., 2014).


Multinational Business Review invites the submission of theoretical and empirical studies that explore the intersection of ESG, climate change, and international business. The special issue on "ESG and climate change issues in multinational enterprises" will accept contributions from wide range of research traditions such as IB, strategy, organization, and economic geography and encourage multidisciplinary submissions. Considering the research on ESG and climate change in the international context is at its early stage, the Special Issue encourages research contributions that address hitherto unexplored issues and attempt to present an original framework challenging conventional approaches to the IB literature through various methodological approaches.


Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:




Papers should be submitted electronically to MBR according to the instructions which can be found by following the links at: Authors need to select the Special Issue from the dropdown menu in Manuscript Central in order for submissions to be considered for the SI.


Authors should consult the MBR home webpage and conform to the required format for submission. All papers will be refereed according to the usual practices of the journal and the first review will be completed within 90 days of the receipt of the manuscript. The deadline for submission is September 15, 2022.


Authors whose papers are successfully evaluated after a first invitation to revise and resubmit will invited to present the papers at a MBR paper development workshop to be held in Summer 2023 at which the editorial team will provide additional feedback. Every effort will be made to cover hotel and local expenses for one author of each paper that is invited to the workshop. Attendance at the workshop is not a prerequisite for the acceptance of papers. Presentation at the workshop does not necessarily guarantee publication in the special issue.




Bloomberg Intelligence. (2021), “ESG assets may hit $53 trillion by 2025, a third of Global AUM”, Bloomberg Professional Services, 23 February 23, available at (accessed on Feb.13, 2022).

Brammer, S., Nardella, G. and Surdu, I. (2021), “Defining and deterring corporate social irresponsibility: embracing the institutional complexity of international business,” Multinational Business Review, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 301-320.

Climate Action Tracker (2021), “The urgent need for nuanced and transparent assessment of national net zero targets,” available at (accessed on January 17, 2022).

Flammer, C. (2015), “Does product market competition foster corporate social responsibility? Evidence from trade liberalization,” Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 36 No. 10, pp. 1469-1485.

Fransen, L.Kolk, A. and Rivera-Santos, M. (2019), "The multiplicity of international corporate social responsibility standards: Implications for global value chain governance", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 397-426.

Guo, J., Kubli, D., & Saner, P (2021), “The economics of climate change: no action not an option,” The Swiss Re Institute, available at (accessed on Jan. 17, 2022).

Howard-Grenville, J., Buckle, S.J., Hoskins, B.J., and George, G. (2014), “Climate change and management,” Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 57 No.3, pp. 615-623.

Kano, L., and Oh, C.H. (2020), “Global value chains in the post-COVID world: Governance for reliability,” Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 57 No.8, pp. 1773-1777.

Lee, S., Klassen, R.D., Furlan, A., and Vinelli, A. (2014), “Environmental bullwhip effect: transferring environmental obligations along a supply chain,” International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 156, pp. 39-51.

Levinson, A., and Taylor, M. (2008), “Unmasking the pollution haven effect,” International Economic Review, Vol. 49 No.1, pp. 223-254.

Linnenluecke, M.K. (2022), “Environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance in the context of multinational business research,” Multinational Business Review, ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

McGuire, M.C. (1982). “Regulation, factor rewards, and international trade.” Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 17 No.3, pp. 335-354.

Nair, A., Yan, T., Ro, Y.K., Oke, A., Chiles, T.H., and Lee, S. (2016), “How environmental innovations emerge and proliferate in supply networks: A complex adaptive systems perspective,” Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 52 No.2, pp. 66-86.

Oh, C.H. and Oetzel, J. (2022), “Multinational enterprises and natural disasters: Challenges and opportunities for IB research,” Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 53 No. 2, pp. 231-254.

Rivera, J., Oh, C.H., Oetzel, J., and Clement, V. (2022), “Business Adaptation to Climate Change,” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Rivera, J., and Oh, C.H. (2013), “Environmental regulations and multinational corporations’ foreign market entry investments,” Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 243-272.

Surroca, J., Tribo, J.A., and Zahra, S.A. (2013), “Stakeholder pressure on MNEs and the transfer of socially responsible practices to subsidiaries,” Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 56 No. 2, pp. 549-572.

Stringer, C. and Michailova, S. (2018), "Why modern slavery thrives in multinational corporations’ global value chains", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 194-206.

The Economist (2020), “Has COVID-19 killed globalisation?” The Economist, 14 May, available at (accessed  on May 02, 2021).

UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI, 2022), available at (accessed on Feb.13, 2022).

Walmart (2022a), “Promoting supply chain responsibility,” available at (accessed on March 2022).

Walmart (2022b), “Walmart Environmental, social and governance FY2021 Summary,” available at  (accessed on March 2022).


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