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Communication of Environmental Issues: A Comparison Between Sustainability Reports and Social Media in the Automotive Industry
University of Skövde, School of Business.
University of Skövde, School of Business.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Sustainability is a topic that has become increasingly important for companies over the last decades. The increasing pressure from stakeholders has led to communication of sustainability to be very important for companies who wish to be seen as sustainable. The main way corporations communicate their sustainability activities are through the annual report. Whether in a standalone sustainability report or as an integrated part of the whole annual report, most of the larger companies today have some form of sustainability reporting. Over the last years, other ways of communicating sustainability activities have surfaced. The social media boom has created an excellent communication channel for companies to directly communicate with its stakeholders.  In the automotive industry environmental issues have been a focus point for many companies over the last decades. Pressure from society and stakeholders to produce more environmentally friendly vehicles have only increased over the last years. This leads us to the purpose of this study, which is to compare the communication of environmental issues in social media and in sustainability reports in the automotive industry.

The study has been done by conducting a content analysis of the sustainability reports and posts on social media sites. Beside the content analysis, our thesis contains a quantitative part to emphasize which environmental topics the companies communicate about. The Global Reporting Initiatives environmental indicators have been used to do the quantitative part of this study. This has helped us divide the different information into various environmental topics to see what is being communicated. The timeframe for the study have been 1st of January 2015 to 31st December 2017, which means we have looked at three years of social media activity and three sustainability reports for the companies in the study. The companies involved in the study are BMW, Groupe Renault, Volvo Cars, and Volkswagen.

The results of our study show that social media and sustainability reports to be very different types of communication channels. Social media revolves around short promotional messages, while sustainability reports aim to give a more fair and broad view of the companies’ environmental engagements. In sustainability reports we have found information to cover most of the environmental indicators, while on social media there is a focus on a smaller amount of topics. Another finding concerns target audience which differ for the studied communication channels. Social media are more directed towards the customer type of stakeholders, while the sustainability reports are more directed towards an investor type of stakeholder.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 86
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16161OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16161DiVA, id: diva2:1246226
Subject / course
Business Administration
Educational program
Business Administration Accounting and Auditing
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-09-10 Created: 2018-09-06 Last updated: 2018-09-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Language
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More languages
Output format
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