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Public relations and responsible citizenship: Communicating CSR and sustainability

Fitch, K. (2018) Public relations and responsible citizenship: Communicating CSR and sustainability. In: Brueckner, M., Spencer, R. and Paull, M., (eds.) Disciplining the Undisciplined? Springer International Publishing, pp. 109-119.

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This chapter offers a critical public relations perspective in its exploration of the role of communication in corporate social responsibility and sustainability . It explores the contradictions inherent in public relations in relation to both organisational communication and activism. Certainly, industry practices such as greenwashing and astroturfing appear to undermine the possibility of public relations being perceived as an ethical and socially responsible occupation. This chapter, therefore, considers the public relations role in conceptualisations of socially responsible citizenship through a discussion of the role of public relations in CSR in the fashion sector. In the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, when more than 1100 textile and garment workers died, activists and consumers demanded fashion retailers and brands take greater responsibility for their social and environmental impacts. In exploring activist campaigns to promote ethical and sustainable fashion and corporate CSR programs in the sector, this chapter concludes that public relations, as practised by activists, NGOs and corporations, may contribute to more socially responsible behaviour on the part of organisations. However, without an authentic commitment to sustainability, there is a real risk of CSR programs being perceived as little more than corporate propaganda and image management.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Copyright: © Springer International Publishing AG 2018
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