After Greenwashing: Symbolic Corporate Environmentalism and by Frances Bowen

By Frances Bowen

Companies advertise their environmental understanding via eco-friendly structures, eco-labels, sustainability studies, pledges and fresh applied sciences. whilst are those symbols wasteful company spin, and while do they sign genuine environmental advancements? in response to two decades of analysis, 3 wealthy case experiences, a robust theoretical version and a number functional purposes, this ebook offers the 1st systematic research of the drivers and effects of symbolic company environmentalism. It addresses the oblique rate of businesses' symbolic activities and develops a brand new suggestion of the 'social strength penalty' - the associated fee to society while robust company actors restrict the social dialog on environmental difficulties and their options. This considerate publication develops a collection of instruments for researchers, regulators and executives to split invaluable environmental info from empty company spin, and should attract researchers and scholars of company accountability, company environmental technique and sustainable enterprise, in addition to environmental practitioners.

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In 1990, the campaign was recognised with an Effie Award from the American Marketing Association for effectiveness in marketing communications. Fast-forward to 2007: Chevron launched a new global advertising campaign, this time based on Human Energy. The ads aimed to illustrate challenges related to the growing global demand for energy and what Chevron was doing to address them (Chevron 2007). Again, this campaign was praised for marketing effectiveness and awarded an Effie – by now the preeminent global award for advertising effectiveness – in the Corporate Reputation category in 2007.

These activists might counter that they need to strategically suspend disbelief around a company’s environmental intentions to be able to engage in a productive dialogue; build relationships; and drive longer-term, deeper 30 After greenwashing environmental change. The problem is that this also can drift easily into a collective self-deception that misrecognises reassuring symbols of environmental change from those in authority for real environmental improvement (Bourdieu and Thompson 1991; Newig 2007).

The decline of greenwashing seems likely to accelerate as new technologies enable anyone with a smartphone to directly monitor their environment and expose undisclosed, poor environmental performance. 6 Smartphone users can download the app and then use it to record, map and share sound levels recorded by the phone’s From greenwashing to symbolic corporate environmentalism 25 microphone. Advanced users can connect this with AirCasting’s air monitor (which records temperature, humidity, and carbon monoxide [CO] and nitrogen dioxide [NO2 ] gas concentrations) and its customdesigned heart-rate monitor to record and share how users’ heart rates respond to exposure to noise and air pollution.

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