A selection of interesting research and articles we’ve found recently.

Deepwater Horizon backlash on BP
Sabine Matejek and Tobias Gössling investigated the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in 2010, during which BP was accused of huge discrepancy between its communications about corporate responsibility and what it actually did operationally. The study focuses on the processes of building, losing, and repairing environmental legitimacy based on the Deepwater Horizon case. BP introduced its “beyond petroleum”-rebranding and the “making this right”-campaign following the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Was this a real (green) corporate change? Why were BP’s green image endeavours initially accepted but were subsequently dismissed as corporate greenwashing. The authors point out that a corporation’s legitimacy seems to be judged against its consistent “green narrative” rather than against its practices.

Read more in ”Beyond Legitimacy: A Case Study in BP’s ‘Green Lashing’ ”, Journal of Business Ethics, April 2014, Volume 120, Issue 4, pp 571-584.

When do green products pay off?
Pui Fong Ng, Muhammad Mohsin Butt, Kok Wei Khong and Fon Sim Ong examined why new product lines that match or exceed consumer environmental concerns don’t always succeed. Generally such failures are attributed to consumer scepticism about the performance of functional and green attributes in a product. In their study Ng et al. looked at the influence of perceived brand quality and credibility on consumer perceptions of the green attributes of electrical and electronic goods. Results suggest that perceived quality and its overall credibility significantly influence generating a greener image, perceived value and brand equity.

Read more about this study in “Antecedents of Green Brand Equity: An Integrated Approach”, Journal of Business Ethics, May 2014, Volume 121, Issue 2, pp 203-215.

Environmental disclosure increases among French companies
Elisabeth Albertini undertook a computerized content analysis of the annual reports of the 55 largest French industrial companies over 6 years, examining their environmental disclosure. While the results showed that the economic situation significantly influences the way environmental issues are addressed, she found that over time, environmental disclosure had became increasingly technical and precise for all the companies sampled. Innovations in environmental practices were presented as a way of increasing energy efficiency and obtaining competitive advantage with green market products. The environmental management system implemented by proactive companies enabled them to improve their environmental performance.

Read further at “A Descriptive Analysis of Environmental Disclosure: A Longitudinal Study of French Companies”, Journal of Business Ethics, May 2014, Volume 121, Issue 2, pp 233-254.