The purpose of this paper is to comparatively analyze how top corporations in New Zealand, Australia and the Global Fortune 500 group communicate about climate science.
A combination of keyword count and quantitative content analysis is used to develop a reliable set of indicators to measure corporate communication about climate science.
Just a few corporations mention or explicitly agree with scientific consensus on climate change and few report science-based targets. They report more frequently on societal risks of climate change, as well as business contribution and responsibility. New Zealand based corporations generally do poor reporting compared to Australian corporations, who do as well as the biggest corporations in the world.
There is a further need for cross-country research and for more longitudinal analysis to understand how organizations communicate about scientific issues to its stakeholders.
This paper can inform communication managers about the need to pay attention to how their communication, individually and in comparison with their peers, is likely interpreted by the stakeholders. Managers may attend to scientific consensus messaging to gain stakeholder approval for ambitious business actions on climate change.
Organizations are powerful social and economic drivers. Understanding how they interpret and communicate a scientific issue has implications for public and policy discourses and outcomes.
This is the first paper to comparatively identify common and contextual drivers of business communication of complex scientific issues. A reliable scale to measure climate science communication by corporations will be helpful for future researchers to replicate in other sectors.
The author thanks the anonymous reviewers whose comments have greatly improved this manuscript.
Thaker, J. (2020), "Corporate communication about climate science: A comparative analysis of top corporations in New Zealand, Australia, and Global Fortune 500", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 245-264. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-06-2019-0092
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