CSR/SDG Washing or Responsible and Trustworthy Sustainable CSR Communication? Danish Communication Industry and Communication Ethics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Almost every second practitioner (46.5% per cent) has experienced several ethical challenges in their day-to-day work during the last 12 months. A smaller portion reports about one issue (18.3%, hile 35.1 % haven’t had any issues during that period. The frequency of moral hazards and the overall share of affected communicators has grown within the last years, as shown by a comparison with previous. (Zerfass et al 2020: 17) Having worked with green and sustainable transition for the past 20 years, it is clear to me that in order to give humanity and not least the new generations a globe worth taking over, my own industry, the communications and marketing industry, must change course. […] Most industries have set goals and rules for how they will contribute to a sustainable transition. My industry really only has goals for what we promise not to do. We're still cleaning up after cases where we smeared customers' competitors in public. […] Right now, the communications and marketing industry is once more creating the greatest hypocritical mass deception of the century: It's about giving us all a sustainable green conscience. The consequence is that we become co-responsible for the Western world's distorted over consumption and wrong ways of life. (Hansen 2021). Drop everything about green hushing and think  communication into the strategy from the start. Be open about the vulnerabilities of any path to a sustainable business. And shout out so you can help inspire other companies. Let the green rings spread so that green becomes the new black. If you are the first in your industry, be the first movers who take the first cool steps -even if they are unsure. (Larsen & Skovgaard Petersen 2020).
The paper aims at investigating how the discourse and practice communities of professional communicators tackle ethical dilemmas and how the communication industry (both communication directors and staff in private and public sectors, civil society, and communication agencies / PR agencies) can change the predominantly defensive and primarily accounting approach on communication ethics and CSR communication towards proactive actions and communications. In this sense, this contribution aims at investigating how the discourse about and with the United Nations’ as Sustainable Developmental Goals as responsible and sustainable CSR communication in the Danish communication industry simultaneously is constituting and constituted by communication of, about, and with the Sustainable Developmental
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCSR Communication Conference 2022 : Conference Proceedings
EditorsHannah Trittin-Ulbrich, Dennis Schöneborn, Matthias Wenzel, Ursa Golob, Klement Podnar
Number of pages4
Place of PublicationLjubljana
PublisherFaculty of Social Sciences. University of Ljubljana
Publication date2022
ISBN (Electronic)9789612950309
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Cite this