University of Oulu

Inconsistent presentation of sustainability-related information to the stakeholders of an apparel company

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Author: Rahkola, Katri1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 65
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : K. Rahkola, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-12
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hermes, Jan
Reviewer: Hermes, Jan
Hatami Boroun, Akram


Sustainability and sustainable development are common concepts today although they are complex and difficult to define. The complexity of sustainability has translated to sustainability reporting through which companies seek to communicate about their sustainability-related actions to their stakeholders. Especially in the apparel industry consumers are increasingly demanding more transparent and clear communication about sustainability as they find it difficult to understand currently.

This research therefore examines how sustainability discourse is presented in a sustainability report and how the presentation attempts to affect the stakeholders’ perceptions of the case company’s sustainability. The aim of the study is to demonstrate the importance of adequate presentation of sustainability-related information. The study is conducted as a critical discourse analysis, and it utilizes a sustainability report of an apparel company as its data.

The analysis demonstrates that the sustainability discourse is formed through various characteristics. Most of the characteristics seek to influence the way in which the stakeholders view the company’s sustainability, but objective language is used as well. While objective language is otherwise desirable in a sustainability report to ensure clear presentation of information, together with influencing characteristics it increases unclarity. There is however also a positive finding as the sustainability report of the case company also seeks to create dialogue with the stakeholders, which is recommended by the previous research. When the findings of the study are reflected against a wider political situation, it is concluded that with proper presentation of information, sustainability reports can drive sustainability transformation through collaboration between states, companies, and consumers.

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Copyright information: © Katri Rahkola, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.