I wrote a piece for the Guardian’s online sustainability section, Sustainability questions the media needs to answer:
An exploration of the media’s CSR journey and its role in influencing audiences on climate change and measuring its sustainability impacts.
On the topic, I am giving a talk next week – do join if you are in the area. Seminar Abstract:
In debates around what constitutes an ethical (sustainable, responsible, etc.) company, it is often assumed that we know and agree on what these terms mean. That is rarely the case, though. Like ‘globalisation’ and ‘culture’, ‘ethics’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘CSR’ have thus become residual categories. Based on detailed work studies within three avowedly sustainable businesses – a property company, a consultancy and an oil company – I argue that organisations produce their own rights and wrongs. Responsible behaviour then emerges as multiple and often conflicting ways of doing things. In coming to grips with the idea of a sustainable company, I identify three mechanisms by which professionals manage to cope with such complexity: by producing an infinite number of standards, by using only certain technologies and rejecting others and, lastly, by creating sophisticated vocabularies to describe the inferiority of other companies/people with ethical aspirations.