Sustainability communication: Perspectives for teaching and research


Businesses worldwide are encouraged to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their operations,[1] and studies indeed show that sustainable business models provide a competitive advantage for companies.[2, 3, 4] For large corporations, communicating sustainability through investor relations, sustainability reporting, and green advertising could be said to have become the norm.[5] However, if companies are unable to successfully communicate their sustainable achievements and impact to their stakeholders, they are unable to fully profit from this effect. Therefore, equipping future business professionals with knowledge of key aspects of sustainability communication and skills to promote sustainability effectively and ethically should be an important objective for all business schools.

Sustainability communication is an interdisciplinary field of research that brings together scholars from various perspectives and disciplines including, e.g., communication studies, business studies, and environmental sciences.[6]   Research on sustainability communication in linguistics is, however, still relatively scarce. While the concept of ecolinguistics is currently more prominently represented in sustainability research,[7]  the research is often based on approaches such as philosophy, ethics, and critical discourse analysis, leaving other sociolinguistic and applied linguistic approaches in the minority.

At this seminar, we delve into the challenges of teaching sustainability communication and try to find teaching solutions that would work in our specific context. We discuss ongoing sustainability communication research at the Department of Professional and Intercultural Communication and attempt to identify themes that could inspire further research at the institution.

Faculty members from other departments at NHH are also warmly welcome to attend.

Please sign up by Friday 10 November through this link.



Welcome & introduction

Dr Kaisa Pietikäinen (NHH)


Teaching Sustainability Communication in a Business Context: Interdisciplinary perspectives and examples

Workshop by Dr Marie-Louise Brunner, Tandem-Professor for Sustainability Communication (Trier University of Applied Sciences)


Lunch and mingling


Communicating sustainability in the northern versus the southern hemisphere: our responsibility to business students in a country with free press

Presentation and discussion by Dr Margrete Dyvik Cardona (NHH)


A linguistic take on sustainability communication research in a corporate context: data, approaches and some findings

Presentation and discussion by Prof. Trine Dahl (NHH)


Closing discussion



[2] Morioka, S. N., I. Bolis, S. Evans, & Carvalho, M. M. (2017) “Transforming sustainability challenges into competitive advantage: Multiple case studies kaleidoscope converging into sustainable business models.” Journal of Cleaner Production 167, p. 723-738.
[3] Bonini, S., and Swartz, S. (2014) “Profits with purpose: How organizing for sustainability can benefit the bottom line.” McKinsey & Company.
[4] Fulton, M., Kahn, B.M., and Sharples, C. (2012) “Sustainable Investing: Establishing Long-Term Value and Performance.” DB Climate Change Advisors, Deutsche Bank Group,

[5] Eccles, R.G. and Klimenko, S. (2019) “The investor revolution: shareholders are getting serious about sustainability,” Harvard business review, 97(3), p. 106-116.

[6] Weder, F., Krainer, L., and Karmasin, M. (2021) The Sustainability Communication Reader: A Reflective Compendium. Springer VS.

[7] Stibbe, A. (2021) Ecolinguistics: Language, Ecology and the Stories We Live By, 2nd edition. Routledge.