As the public becomes more aware of environmental issues, corporations are pressed to consider and address the sustainability of their practices. Unwilling to drastically change business models, many corporations turn to greenwashing in an attempt to construct an environmentally friendly image while doing little to nothing to address sustainability issues. Using Kenneth Burke's work on identification and terministic screens, I analyze The Coca-Cola Company's "2020 World Without Waste Report" to illuminate how consumers come to believe in and identify with corporate greenwashing tactics. In line with Burke's theories related to identification, I argue that Coca-Cola's greenwashing strategies can be categorized into three main tactics: establishing common ground, creating antithesis against a shared enemy, and subtly invoking a sense of transcendence. Through my analysis, I also expand Burke's notion of transcendence and propose that established ethos and intertextuality can foster identification. By understanding how these rhetorical strategies operate within corporate texts, consumers can be more aware of greenwashing and hold corporations more accountable.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Haws, Jessica Wallace, "Cherry Red Greenwashing: The Rhetoric Behind Corporate Recycling Narratives" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 9422.
greenwashing, rhetoric, plastic, recycling, identification, Coca-Cola, Kenneth Burke