The problem of greenwash: Rhetorical elements in communicating environmental CSR practices

Devin, Bree & Bartlett, Jennifer L. (2011) The problem of greenwash: Rhetorical elements in communicating environmental CSR practices. In International Communication Association Conference, 2011, Boston, MA. (Unpublished)


The field of rhetoric can be highly useful for researchers to focus on and understand the specific textual strategies used by organizations when communicating about CSR practices. To date however, while there have been studies that consider the use of rhetoric to communicate about environmental practices, there have been few studies that have used a rhetorical analysis to consider both green communication and public response to that communication as a way of understanding public issues with organizational practice. This study seeks to address this gap by using a rhetorical analysis of both environmental communication by organizations, and the claims made by a regulatory body acting on behalf of the public about why that communication was deemed ‘greenwash’ or inappropriate. In doing so, the paper applies a rhetorical analysis to understand the grounds on which environmental communication is deemed not legitimate, and suggests that whilst all three elements of ethos should be considered when communicating a CSR practice, the element of phronesis is the most crucial element, whereby organizations must ensure that they accurately justify any claims in relation to CSR.

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ID Code: 64861
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: The authors
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2013 12:50
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2013 14:36

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