Are the Climate Challenges a Corporate Social Responsibility? A Discourse Analytical Study of Climate Partnerships 2019-2020

Rikke Busk Folkmann

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines how the Danish government's implementation of Climate Partnerships at-tempts to attribute new meaning to corporate social responsibility in a climate political context.
The thesis takes a poststructuralistic direction through a hegemonic discourse analysis using Laclau. It shows how the government attributes corporate social responsibility through five discursive positions: Global Export Adventure, Winning Nation, Innovation, The Danish Model and Welfare. In addition, the analysis shows that the government is trying to reinvent the Danish community of common destiny by attributing anew and broader social responsibility to the business community. This goes beyond economics and climate policy, as the business community is attributed responsibility for securing the Danish welfare society policy on social policy ideals. Furthermore, it analyses how the Government's Climate Partnerships create new opportunities for governance by constructing the business community as a political partner that contributes to the political framework and regulations by formulating climate policy.
Secondly, Foucault's concept of self-governance is included in order to demonstrate how the government's attributions to corporate social responsibility creates new opportunities for governance. Here, five subject positions were analysed: The market-creating subject, The leading subject, The innovative co-creating subject, The policy-creating subject and the socially responsible subject.
Furthermore, it is discussed how social responsibility is framed differently according to the society as a whole it is constructed from. To discuss this, Danish Shipping, as part of the 13 Climate Partnerships, is included. The discussion shows that Danish Shipping attributes social responsibility based on global shipping as a whole, and not the national community of common destiny that the government is trying to create through the Climate Partnerships. Finally, the form of responsibility is discussed by including the concept of hyper-responsibility. This shows that the form of responsibility is complex because the business community is both assigned responsibility and must constantly describe the potential responsibility on its own.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages71
SupervisorsDorthe Pedersen