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Avoiding the greenwashing trap: between CSR communication and stakeholder engagement

Avoiding the greenwashing trap: between CSR communication and stakeholder engagement The paper analyses key elements of communication that may lead to accusations that a company is engaging in practices of greenwashing failing to create stakeholder engagement. According to sensemaking and sensegiving approaches, the theoretical foundations that underpin the concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and greenwashing practices are explored and a comparison between two energy companies in the Italian and Dutch context is set up for exploratory purpose. The integration of a company's strategic CSR approach and its communication practices may help to enhance effective stakeholder engagement, prevent accusations of greenwashing and avert the negative associated consequences (e.g., scepticism among stakeholders). The research provides a theoretical contribution to CSR communication by identifying several pitfalls that can lead to the appearance of greenwashing and provides caveats for the further development of both theory and managerial practices. Keywords: CSR; greenwashing; corporate communication; stakeholder engagement; energy industry; communication ideal; identification of CSR structure; strategic communication task; corporate communication style. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Vollero, A., Palazzo, M. Siano, A. and Elving, W.J.L. (2016) `: between CSR communication and stakeholder engagement', Int. J. Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.120­140. Copyright © 2016 Inderscience http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development Inderscience Publishers

Avoiding the greenwashing trap: between CSR communication and stakeholder engagement

Avoiding the greenwashing trap: between CSR communication and stakeholder engagement


The paper analyses key elements of communication that may lead to accusations that a company is engaging in practices of greenwashing failing to create stakeholder engagement. According to sensemaking and sensegiving approaches, the theoretical foundations that underpin the concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and greenwashing practices are explored and a comparison between two energy companies in the Italian and Dutch context is set up for exploratory purpose. The integration of a company's strategic CSR approach and its communication practices may help to enhance effective stakeholder engagement, prevent accusations of greenwashing and avert the negative associated consequences (e.g., scepticism among stakeholders). The research provides a theoretical contribution to CSR communication by identifying several pitfalls that can lead to the appearance of greenwashing and provides caveats for the further development of both theory and managerial practices. Keywords: CSR; greenwashing; corporate communication; stakeholder engagement; energy industry; communication ideal; identification of CSR structure; strategic communication task; corporate communication style. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Vollero, A., Palazzo, M. Siano, A. and Elving, W.J.L. (2016) `: between CSR communication and stakeholder engagement', Int. J. Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.120­140. Copyright © 2016 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd. Biographical notes: Agostino Vollero, PhD, is Researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Political, Social and Communication Sciences, University of Salerno (Italy). His primary research interests are in the areas of corporate communication, social responsibility, digital marketing and corporate reputation. He has published two books and various papers in Italian and international journals, including Journal of Brand Management and Journal of Marketing Communications....
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Publisher
Inderscience Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
ISSN
1740-8822
eISSN
1740-8830
DOI
10.1504/IJISD.2016.075542
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The paper analyses key elements of communication that may lead to accusations that a company is engaging in practices of greenwashing failing to create stakeholder engagement. According to sensemaking and sensegiving approaches, the theoretical foundations that underpin the concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and greenwashing practices are explored and a comparison between two energy companies in the Italian and Dutch context is set up for exploratory purpose. The integration of a company's strategic CSR approach and its communication practices may help to enhance effective stakeholder engagement, prevent accusations of greenwashing and avert the negative associated consequences (e.g., scepticism among stakeholders). The research provides a theoretical contribution to CSR communication by identifying several pitfalls that can lead to the appearance of greenwashing and provides caveats for the further development of both theory and managerial practices. Keywords: CSR; greenwashing; corporate communication; stakeholder engagement; energy industry; communication ideal; identification of CSR structure; strategic communication task; corporate communication style. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Vollero, A., Palazzo, M. Siano, A. and Elving, W.J.L. (2016) `: between CSR communication and stakeholder engagement', Int. J. Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.120­140. Copyright © 2016 Inderscience

Journal

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable DevelopmentInderscience Publishers

Published: Jan 1, 2016

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