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Open AccessArticle

Corporate Perspectives on Responsibility and Sustainability in the Food System: A (Food) Communicative-Constructivist Viewpoint

Department of Communication and Engagement in Agricultural, Nutritional and Environmental Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, 35390 Giessen, Germany
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Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 2024; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12052024
Received: 31 January 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 4 March 2020 / Published: 6 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Human Geography and Social Sustainability)
This study examines how corporations in the German food industry understand and perceive communication as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) dimension, how they communicate about food-related sustainability, and how this corporate food communication can lead to sustainability-oriented change in action-guiding institutions. This study takes a communicative-constructivist viewpoint that does not focus on the extent to which the communicated corresponds to the actual action but rather on how communication and communicatively constructed institutions can shape, influence, or constitute the action. A comparative qualitative case study approach reveals how two deviant cases within the producing and processing food industry assume responsibility through food communication and identifies five underlying roles of communication that, in their case-specific variations yield in two different conceptualizations of perceiving responsibility through communication. The analysis and interpretation of data, in the reference frame of communicative institutionalism, outline promising prospects on how corporate food communication can contribute to institutional changes that guide decisions and actions for sustainable development of the food system. Furthermore, the findings highlight food quality as a relevant communication resource for food-related discussions about sustainability that cross systems in the context of the food system and transforms an institution in such a way that it now also refers to aspects of sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: corporate social responsibility; food communication; sustainable food quality; communicative institutionalism; comparative qualitative case study corporate social responsibility; food communication; sustainable food quality; communicative institutionalism; comparative qualitative case study
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Bartelmeß, T.; Godemann, J. Corporate Perspectives on Responsibility and Sustainability in the Food System: A (Food) Communicative-Constructivist Viewpoint. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2024.

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