This study investigates business responses to new regulation by focusing on the rearrangement of interactions in business relationships involving ‘NRG’, a large multinational energy company in the aviation industry. ‘NRG’ is confronted with new environmental rules resulting from the inclusion of the aviation industry in the European Emissions Trading Scheme as of 2012. We demonstrate that business actors do not simply comply with the rules of the game; instead they elaborate responses which impact on the creation of new rules. We argue that research on business responses to new regulation is highly relevant to industrial marketing because the increasing complexity of regulation in many industrial markets provides significant opportunities and threats to businesses. We propose three guiding principles which could be used by managers in understanding, influencing and responding to new regulation.