Title: Black gold, green marketing: multimodal analysis of the environmental sustainability discourse of the world's largest petroleum companies

Authors: Inesa Sahakyan

Addresses: Faculty of Applied Foreign Languages, Research Centre "ILCEA4" (Institut des langues et cultures d'Europe, Amérique, Afrique, Asie et Australie), Université Grenoble Alpes, 381 rue des résidences, Domaine universitaire, 38400 Saint-Martin-d'Hères, France

Abstract: This paper analyses the environmental discourse used by the world's largest petroleum companies to shape and popularise their corporate social responsibility regarding major environmental issues. We examine how different semiotic modes and media interrelate to construct the multimodal environmental discourse. While there has been extensive research on the monomodal discourse of yesteryear (textual realisations), there has been little on the complex multimodal discourse of today. The current line of enquiry based on multimodal discourse analysis (MDA) is therefore of value due to its focus on the multimodal aspects of corporate communication. After a brief discussion of the notion of modality, we expose the interpretative frameworks that are applied to the multimodal analysis of corporate communication in this study. The research points to the repetitive and predictable nature of not only the modes and media of corporate communication developed by different oil companies but also of the discourse itself, metaphors included.

Keywords: MDA; multimodal discourse analysis; environmental sustainability; corporate communication; green marketing; big oil; petroleum refining industry; sustainable development; corporate social responsibility; CSR; environmental issues; major oil companies.

DOI: 10.1504/PIE.2016.082160

Progress in Industrial Ecology, An International Journal, 2016 Vol.10 No.2/3, pp.139 - 157

Received: 29 Feb 2016
Accepted: 02 Nov 2016

Published online: 08 Feb 2017 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article