Vores fælles miljø: Hvordan virksomheder inddrager forbrugerne i deres miljøstrategi

Ditte Thøgersen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

In a time where more and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware, and are listening to their conscience when making decisions about how to spend their time and money, how do the businesses that are responsible for the majority of the individual consumers carbon footprint, attract environmentally conscious consumers? The following thesis analyses the environmental strategy of large, environmentally challenged businesses, and using Foucault’s concepts of power and subjectivation, suggests that these corporations attempt to share their environmental responsibility with their consumers by engaging them in the corporate strategy. I conducted the survey by listing the corporations that contribute to the average Danish consumer’s carbon-footprint, which counts the largest heat- and energy suppliers, such as DONG and Vattenfall; all the car manufactorers dealing in Denmark, like Toyota or SEAT; the largest car rental companies, like AVIS and Europcar; the largest gas companies, like Shell and Q8; and finally all the aviation companies flying out of Kastrup Airport. Using foucauldian concepts I first carried out a discourse analysis of the companies presentation of themselves as environmentally responsible, and secondly a governmentality analysis of the companies’ construction of their consumers. These analyses showed how the companies manage to lead the consumers to lead themselves. For instance, offering carbon offsetting to the consumers allows an aviation company to argue that even the environmentalist consumer can take an extra trip across the Atlantic. By including the consumer in the company’s environmental strategy, it becomes ethically sound for the environmentalist consumer to fly more, instead of less. The company sells more plane tickets, and the consumer feels good about something that would usually make her feel guilty. Foucault’s concept of governmentality allows us to observe how businesses lead consumers to lead themselves in accordance with their environmental strategy. These findings are placed and discussed in a CSR context and eventually lead me to argue, that the market mechanisms some CSR advocates rely on are distorted when the consumers are drawn into businesses’ strategy.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2009
Number of pages81