So far, research has insufficiently addressed the long-term effectiveness of business responses to climate change in delivering actual outcomes. The aim of this article is therefore to analyze the determinants of such strategies and their influence on firms' financial and carbon performance over time. It is argued that corporate carbon strategies have three main objectives: carbon governance, carbon reduction and carbon competitiveness. To assess the complex interactions between these strategic objectives, their determinants and outcomes, an integrative structural equation model is developed and empirically tested. Data are sourced from a global sample of 45 leading enterprises from the steel, cement and automotive sector, including some of the largest GHG emitters in the world. In order to account for the long-term impacts of strategies, the firm-level change in financial and carbon performance is calculated by comparing two different points in time, namely 2008 and 2013. The results provide empirical evidence for the positive effect of institutional and stakeholder pressure on emission reduction activities. Proof for a positive impact of carbon pressure on organizational capabilities and corporate competitiveness in the context of climate change cannot be established. Surprisingly, the results also indicate no relationship between carbon reduction activities and long-term improvements in carbon performance. However, such measures are linked to long-term financial gains. Advancements in carbon performance, in turn, are not found to be associated with economic benefits.