Sustainable Communication or Communicating Sustainability? : A qualitative research studying sustainable marketing practices at IBM, Max Burgers & H&M
The demand for sustainability initiatives is increasing by both consumers and organizations (Gittell, et al. 2013). It changes the way businesses are operating and communicating, hence the interest for sustainable marketing has increased. Sustainable marketing should not only be about initiatives to appear more environmental friendly or socially conscious, but rather about a more substantive and meaningful levels of commitments (ibid). Alongside these practical ideas of sustainable marketing, consumers’ requirements for sustainability have sometimes been used as a strategy to create sustainable communication, although companies are lacking initiatives of sustainability. The idea of marketing as a strategy to create desire and needless spending along with sustainability goals has been criticized as being in direct contradictories (Meller & Magaš 2014, Pettie 2001, Pettie & Belz 2010). Thus, the problematics compose of the discussed oxymoron between sustainability and marketing together with the difference between sustainable communication and communicating sustainability.
This qualitative study has been done with a starting position from the idea of addressing how sustainable marketing is practiced, why it is practiced and how the future outlook of the concept is perceived from a company perspective. The chosen theories for this study compose mainly of basic marketing theories and models with a sustainability adaption. A qualitative study addressing this issue from a company perspective has not been discovered in previous researches, which resulted in the idea of highlighting different companies’ opinions and practices of sustainable marketing. The findings have discovered the usage of sustainable marketing today and potentially in the future, together with reasons for why it is practiced. Sustainability has become a well-known concept with a lot of business scandals associated to it, which has been mentioned in this study as one of the reasons for the predictions of a future demand of real sustainable marketing practices.
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