Justifying business responses to climate change: discursive strategies of similarity and difference
Despite increasing interest in corporate environmentalism, less attention has been directed to how corporations justify and defend their initiatives in this area. This is important in understanding how corporate environmentalism is legitimized in the face of crises, such as climate change, and the ongoing criticism of corporations’ deleterious impacts upon the environment. Based on qualitative data from Australian corporations, we illustrate how organizations and managers employ a range of justifications for their activities in order to meet criticism and challenges. We identify different discursive legitimation strategies that are used by managers to deal with conflicts between justifications, and argue that this framework has broader implications in understanding the arguments that underpin social conflict over environmental sustainability. Keywords: climate change, corporate environmentalism, justification, legitimation, discourse
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