• Talent Kumbirai Mushongera
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
Organizations have increasingly made use of sustainability reporting to detail their environmental contributions and efforts. Sustainability, however, is a largely contested concept, therefore, I was compelled to trace the origins of sustainability. Environmental preservation was determined to be the reason for its emergence. Many definitions of sustainability have since proliferated with sustainable development the go-to concept for business organizations. Organizations, on the other hand, are naturally profit-oriented hence, they do not stand to benefit from environmental preservation efforts. Or do they? Given these ambiguities and contestations, the purpose of this study is to investigate how sustainability efforts are expressed in sustainability reporting. Using the communicative constitution of organization approach (CCO) approach; I carried out a comparative study between Starbucks and Max Burger aiming to understand the way organizations express themselves as communicative representations, manifestations, and embodiments from which they can be understood and explained. I argued that the CCO lens helps in explaining the organizational approach to ecological concerns.

Using documents as the source of data, I latently coded the semantic units emerging from the data as defined in the theoretical section. Four categories emerged, namely the sustainability claims, journey metaphors, economic and social aspects, and sustainability actions. The analysis thereof was performed also guided by the theories and meanings defined in the study. The findings indicated that the sustainability claims were introduced in a form that ensured that business practices were sustained and not affected in any way, thus, they maintained the economic growth quest of the organizations. Journey metaphors were used in a manner that prolonged any notable solutions to environmental issues. Under the economic and social aspects category, the two were stressed using the triple bottom line reporting while environmental issues were suppressed and marginalized. Starbucks’ actions intersected social and economic issues as its sustainability strategy. Max Burger on the other hand, addressed environmental issues in a manner that did not intersect with its business.
The paper argued for the need to address ecological issues from the sustainability standpoint as the sustainable development approach inevitably marginalizes environmental concerns.
Publication date1 Jun 2020
Number of pages71
ID: 333397841