Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Bryan Taylor

Second Advisor

Cindy White

Third Advisor

Deserai Crow

Abstract

Greenwashing is a growing trend in the advertising of organization’s green efforts as well as the relationship it holds with a corporation’s public image and identity. Environmental communication is used to discuss our surroundings as well as controversial topics such as carbon emissions. Companies are seen to partake in greenwashing as a newer approach for them to achieve greater success. The importance of their image and identity is crucial to the portrayal of their organization to the general public. Image and identity also influence the corporation’s sense of understanding their place in their industry and society. In this study, I analyze Virgin Atlantic Airways green initiative programs as possible culprits of greenwashing through their use of rhetoric to depict themselves as a green corporation. I found that Virgin Atlantic can be deemed guilty of partaking in these actions through their largely publicized efforts that may have little to no effect on the environment, their disregard of the programs failures or small-scale efforts, and their conflicting voice in relation to their business and environmental programs.

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