Environmental Economics

Frances Bowen's After Greenwashing: Symbolic Corporate Environmentalism and PDF

By Frances Bowen

ISBN-10: 1107034825

ISBN-13: 9781107034822

Companies advertise their environmental information via eco-friendly structures, eco-labels, sustainability experiences, pledges and fresh applied sciences. whilst are those symbols wasteful company spin, and whilst do they sign genuine environmental advancements? in line with two decades of study, 3 wealthy case stories, a robust theoretical version and more than a few sensible purposes, this booklet offers the 1st systematic research of the drivers and effects of symbolic company environmentalism. It addresses the oblique price of businesses' symbolic activities and develops a brand new thought of the 'social strength penalty' - the price 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 may attract researchers and scholars of company accountability, company environmental method and sustainable company, in addition to environmental practitioners.

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Extra info for After Greenwashing: Symbolic Corporate Environmentalism and Society

Sample text

On the other hand, communicative activity that does not match a firm’s underlying environmental performance imposes a negative externality on society that arises from the distortion of a company’s image (Lyon and Maxwell 2011). So far, too little research has focused on the welfare implications of symbolic greening. Economists and strategists tend to assume that firms are deliberately greenwashing because they are responding rationally to incentives and payoffs to do so and that this gap is bad for society.

From their symbolic organisational theory perspective, Forbes and Jermier (2012) also notice this symbol–substance gap, describing greenwashing as a firm’s deliberate use of ‘mere symbols’ or ‘a superficial corporate environmentalism that is all style and no substance’ (2012: 561). Greenwashing focuses attention on highly visible green initiatives or criteria, thereby deflecting attention from a more comprehensive analysis. Recent definitions of ‘greenwashing’ by strategy scholars and economists turn stakeholders’ limited information and attention to a firm’s advantage.

If a firm’s practices are messy, then the symbolic aspects of those actions can also be messy. All environmental practices have symbolic meanings, whether or not those shared meanings are deliberately manipulated. The symbolic component of green practices may or may not accurately represent substantive environmental performance, regardless of whether a manager set out to deliberately mislead. Third, symbolic corporate environmentalism is deeply embedded within an institutional field and may be constructed by a diverse range of actors or the interactions among them.

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After Greenwashing: Symbolic Corporate Environmentalism and Society by Frances Bowen


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