The evolution of the sustainability story in communication

Presented by: Dr Franzisca Weder

Date: Friday 16 October 2020
Time: 12–1pm
Location: Online via Zoom


In this talk Franzisca traces the use (and abuse) of sustainability as a frame for corporate activities. The idea behind the research presented is to carve out the central role of strategic communication for the emergence and evolution of sustainability as a narrative of the future, that substitutes the ‘old’ climate change narrative about human superiority over nature being the cause of the ecological crisis. The project analyses a sample of corporate “Environment(al) Reports” (1990-2000), and “CSR Reports” (2000-2015) of internationally operating energy companies over the past 30 years. The analysis of the reports shows the framing of corporate actions as green and responsible. The talk finishes by discussing the potential of the ‘evolutionary’ approach presented in the talk to understand the lack of sustainability communication in political discourses and the media.


Dr Franzisca Weder is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland. Until 2019, she worked as Associate Professor at the University of Klagenfurt (Austria), after earning her PhD (Journalism) and habilitation/2nd PhD (Communication) from the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany). Franzisca Weder was responsible for the Sustainability program at the University of Klagenfurt, and is acting Vice-Chair of the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA) as well as Secretary of the Environmental Communication Division of the International Communication Association (ICA).



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