How Sustainability Ratings Might Deter 'Greenwashing': A Closer Look at Ethical Corporate Communication [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 102 (1):15-28 (2011)
Of the many ethical corporate marketing practices, many firms use corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication to enhance their corporate image. Yet, consumers, overwhelmed by these more or less well-founded CSR claims, often have trouble identifying truly responsible firms. This confusion encourages ‘greenwashing’ and may make CSR initiatives less effective. On the basis of attribution theory, this study investigates the role of independent sustainability ratings on consumers’ responses to companies’ CSR communication. Experimental results indicate the negative effect of a poor sustainability rating for corporate brand evaluations in the case of CSR communication, because consumers infer less intrinsic motives by the brand. Sustainability ratings thus could act to deter ‘greenwashing’ and encourage virtuous firms to persevere in their CSR practices
|Keywords||Ethical corporate marketing CSR communication Attribution theory Sustainability ratings|
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Citations of this work BETA
John M. T. Balmer, Shaun M. Powell & Stephen A. Greyser (2011). Explicating Ethical Corporate Marketing. Insights From the BP Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe: The Ethical Brand That Exploded and Then Imploded. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 102 (1):1-14.
Yu-Shan Chen & Ching-Hsun Chang (2013). Greenwash and Green Trust: The Mediation Effects of Green Consumer Confusion and Green Perceived Risk. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 114 (3):489-500.
Mohamed Chelli & Yves Gendron (2013). Sustainability Ratings and the Disciplinary Power of the Ideology of Numbers. Journal of Business Ethics 112 (2):187-203.
Gergely Nyilasy, Harsha Gangadharbatla & Angela Paladino (2013). Perceived Greenwashing: The Interactive Effects of Green Advertising and Corporate Environmental Performance on Consumer Reactions. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics:1-15.
Yoon-Na Cho (forthcoming). Different Shades of Green Consciousness: The Interplay of Sustainability Labeling and Environmental Impact on Product Evaluations. Journal of Business Ethics.
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