Symbolic and substantive legitimation: examining corporate commitments to sustainable development goal 12

Nicholas Eng, Cassandra L.C. Troy, Denise S. Bortree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess online corporate communication around commitments to sustainable development goal (SDG) 12, sustainable production and consumption. Design/methodology/approach: Guided by legitimacy theory, a qualitative directed content analysis was conducted on 13 companies' webpages (81 webpages, 78,947 words). Findings: Companies broadly failed to communicate about all 11 SDG 12 targets, neglected to consistently address multiple stakeholder groups, missed opportunities to provide concrete evidence of progress and relied on a mix of substantive and symbolic legitimation strategies. Originality/value: SDG 12 has been under-researched and this paper is one of the first to offer an in-depth analysis of corporate communication regarding SDG 12.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-92
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 18 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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