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Alessandra Molino Maria Cristina Caimotto University of Turin ANGLICISMS IN ITALIAN AS ALERTS.

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Presentazione sul tema: "Alessandra Molino Maria Cristina Caimotto University of Turin ANGLICISMS IN ITALIAN AS ALERTS."— Transcript della presentazione:

1 Alessandra Molino Maria Cristina Caimotto University of Turin ANGLICISMS IN ITALIAN AS ALERTS TO GREENWASHING: A CASE STUDY

2 Greenwashing Concise Oxford English Dictionary: Greenwashing is a label which indicates disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image Guardian's columnist Fred Pierce: Greenwashing consists in theexaggeration, absurd claims or downright lies that big business makes about its green credentials.

3 Greenwashing and green marketing Greenwashing: manipulation of the recipients caused by presenting information about a companys environment policies which the recipients are not able to verify and resist Green marketing: legitimate persuasion based on the promotion of environment-friendly policies. van Dijk, T.A. (2006). Discourse and manipulation. Discourse & Society 17 (3):

4 Green marketing corporate public image Environmental policy statements are not required by law, thus publishing such statements is voluntary. There is no mechanism of third-party verification that the organisation is actually implementing the published policy. Corporations have an incentive to publish environmental policy statements as they can positively influence the public perceptions of the company A strong contradiction exists between the seriousness of the environmental problems we are facing on a global level and the attempt to turn environmentalism into a profitable business following the logics of capitalism and consumption (Alexander 2009: 27).

5 Consciouness raising Our aim: to select and identify discourse features that may be considered a warning bell which should alert the recipients to raise the attention level in order to avoid potential manipulation to show that greenwashing is actually implemented

6 The ERG company Recent brand restructuring of the ERG group through the restyling of its petrol stations: a literally greenwashed version.

7 Visually branding the environment (Hansen and Machin 2008)


9 Visually branding the environment Decontextualization: ionic images rather than recognizable pictures because of their geographical, historical or social identity Aestheticisation: the use of beautiful, almost poetic landscapes These strategies enable the product and the corporation to be loaded with positive values, such as new age ideas of serenity, purity, escape and freedom. Green issues are no longer presented as a specific set of problems but they recontextualised visually as a marketing opportunity. Conflict of interests: moving away from concrete environmental issues and promoting greater consumption, a fact which certainly conflicts with measures to deal with environmental problems.

10 (1) Nel definire la strategia di sostenibilità vengono infatti considerati diversi input di cui i più rilevanti sono, oltre agli obiettivi strategici di business, i valori espressi nel Codice Etico, i risultati delle attività di coinvolgimento degli stakeholder, le indicazioni provenienti dalla funzione Risk Management, le best practice internazionali per la responsabilità di impresa. (Rapporto di Sostenibilità, 2007, p. 16) (2) Lapplicazione del Regolamento avverrà a step successivi […]. Sono state costituite tre task force, una per area di business […]. In tal senso è stato creato uno specifico database che contiene il censimento puntuale di tutte le sostanze e gli intermedi prodotti e/o importati. La Funzione Sostenibilità di Corporate indirizza, coordina e supporta le attività di lavoro delle task force. (Rapporto di Sostenibilità, 2007, p. 37) Anglicisms

11 Why Anglicisms? 1.Extensive use of Anglicisms in some key passages of the selected texts: e.g. definition of sustainability strategies; procedure for the implementation of sustainability policies 2.Anglicisms are an important rhetorical choice in persuasive discourse. In advertisements, Anglicisms function as attention-getters and operate as an authoritative voice which associates the product with modernity and gives it an international appeal (Martin, 2007). Web-based communication on environmental policies may be considered similar to advertising because: it enables corporations to reach a large audience thus mak[ing] it easy for interest groups in civil society to quickly identify which firms have environmental policies in place (Ramus and Montiel, 2005: 385) it is characterized by the intent to present a positive and persuasive public image.

12 Research question Do Anglicisms lend themselves to be used in a strategic way when the company wants to hide a tension between green claims and the actual possibility of delivering what is being promised?

13 Analytical framework Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA): Discourse is seen as socially conditioned as well as socially constitutive: Discourse is influenced by the situation(s), institution(s) and social structure(s) which frame it (Fairclough and Wodak, 1997: 258); It is through discourse that social actors constitute knowledge, situations, social roles as well as identities and interpersonal relations between various interacting social groups (Van Leeuwen and Wodak, 1999: 92)

14 Analytical framework Van Leeuwen and Wodak (1999) – Four macro-strategies account for the socially constitutive power of discourse: 1.Constructive strategies: : they serve to build and establish particular groups (i.e. agents and participants). E.g Il Gruppo (the Group, referring to ERG), le sue persone (its people, referring to those who work for ERG), i manager del futuro (future managers) and il consumatore (the consumer). Strategies of perpetuation and justification: linguistic acts that attempt to maintain, support and reproduce identities. These strategies come into play when an established situation is perceived as threatened impersonality or factuality to present arguments as objective and discourage debate.

15 3.Strategies of transformation: to turn a given situation into another by reformulating or redefining a relatively well-known discourse in different terms. Crescere in modo sostenibile significa per ERG integrare gli obiettivi di crescita economica e di business con la creazione di valore per lambiente e la società, al fine di accrescere il valore generato e trasformarlo anche in vantaggio competitivo. (Rapporto di Sostenibilità 2007: 20) 4.Destructive strategies: linguistic acts that try to demolish a well- established situation. They are used in oppositional discourse, such as in various genres of political discourse.

16 Corpus and method Ramus and Montiel (2005: 378): corporate environmental policy statements are 1. part of organisations' environmental reports and 2. publicly available information about an organisation's environmental policy. Manual retrieval of Anglicisms Contextual analysis Type of textNumber of words Website pages9,862 Sustainability reports193,113 TOT202,975

17 Category of Anglicisms TypesTokensExamples Technical terms related to the type of business 41311Carbon footprint, repowering, revamping, pump and treat, feedstock, downstream, air sparging, fuel cells, etc. Business management and economy 21309Marketing, house organ, join venture, milestone, holding, benefit, item, risk-based, management, etc. Social actors and their activities 15108Teamworking, stakeholder, coaching, community, engagement, opinion leader, training, manager, etc. Activities, initiatives, projects carried out by ERG 1438Connecting, safety inspection, joint implementation, restyling, customer satisfaction, Save More than Fuel, etc. Proper names (institutions, organisms, regulations, etc.) 1346Energy Intensity Index, Global Reporting Initiative, United Nations Convention on Climate Change, Emission Trading System, etc. TOT Results Stakeholder: 35 occurrences Performance: 94 occurrences

18 Stakeholder (3) Il Gruppo ERG ha avviato un percorso di dialogo e confronto con i propri portatori di interesse (stakeholder) che vede nel Rapporto di Sostenibilità uno degli strumenti di riferimento. (Home>Sostenibilità>Fatti coinvolgere) (4) Le modalità operative di relazione e di coinvolgimento degli stakeholder sono improntate sui valori fondamentali esplicitati nel Codice Etico [...]. (Rapporto di Sostenibilità 2007, p. 18) (5) I principi che regolano la definizione del contenuto sono: materialità, inclusività degli stakeholder, contesto di sostenibilità, completezza. (Rapporto di Sostenibilità 2008, p. 62) (6) […] il nostro obiettivo è di consolidare la nostra reputazione qualificando ulteriormente il dialogo con gli stakeholder, garantendo trasparenza e tempestività nell'informazione. (Rapporto di Sostenibilità 2008, p. 63)

19 Edward Freemans 1984 book Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach academic interest and managerial acceptance any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of an organizations objectives (1984: 46) Lack of precision of the term (specialists): We will see stakeholders identified as primary or secondary stakeholders; as owners and nonowners of the firm; as owners of capital or owners of less tangible assets; as actors or those acted upon; as those existing in a voluntary or an involuntary relationship with the firm; as rights-holders, contractors, or moral claimants; as resource providers to or dependents of the firm; as risk-takers or influencers; and as legal principals to whom agent-managers bear a fiduciary duty. In the stakeholder literature there are a few broad definitions that attempt to specify the empirical reality that virtually anyone can affect or be affected by an organization's actions. What is needed is a theory of stakeholder identification that can reliably separate stakeholders from nonstakeholders. (Mitchell, Agle and Wood, 1997: )

20 Semantic difficulties related to the use of the term (general public): Blairs speech in Singapore (January 1996)stakeholder economy: the ambiguity of the term led the New Labour party to drop it. For a time, stakeholding was seen to be the big idea which provided a link between different parts of the emerging political position of New Labour – specifically between its commitment toenterprise and strengthening Britains competitiveness, and its commitment to social justice and community. However it ran into difficulties. It proved to be a difficult concept to pin down, and was interpreted in many different ways, including ways which evoked forms of (Old Labour) corporate arrangement between government, business, and labour (trade unions) from which the Government were eager to distance themselves. (Fairclough: 2000, p. 84).

21 Who does ERG include as stakeholders?

22 Theres little doubt that all those groups do not carry the same weight in the companys decision making process. Rhetorical advantage of the use of the term: Constructive strategy (Van Leeuwen and Wodak, 1999) functioning as a bonding agent Image of a responsible corporation: the needs of different groups are being taken into account TENSION: It conceals the existence of conflicting interests: inevitable given such a varied portion of society Strategically foreground the interests of particular groups of stakeholders: green issues (website, petrol stations vs. fossil fuels) Rhetorical advantage of the use of the term in English: Technical term authoritative voice; Obfuscating function less arguable in terms of the identity of the stakeholders.

23 Performance Performance – environment – positive contexts (7) Le performance ambientali in termini di consumi idrici ed elettrici [...]. (Salute, Sicurezza, Ambiente – Rapporto 2004, p.60) (8) La performance in materia di emissioni atmosferiche è risultata più che buona. (Salute, Sicurezza, Ambiente – Rapporto 2004, p. 66) (9) La performance ambientale complessiva della Raffinazione Costiera è risultata nel 2006 più che soddisfacente. (Salute, Sicurezza, Ambiente – Rapporto 2006, p. 27) (10) La certificazione relativa alla gestione ambientale, segnale di forte ecocompatibilità, prevenzione dell'inquinamento e miglioramento continuo delle performance dell'organizzazione rappresenta uno dei maggiori obiettivi raggiunti dal Gruppo negli ultimi anni. (Salute, Sicurezza, Ambiente – Rapporto 2006, p. 13)

24 Performance includes: Positive or negative results in terms of emissions, use of natural resources, the amount of waste and energy consumption; The revenues and the expenses related to the production of electricity and the exploitation of renewable sources; The environmental impact of fossil fuels; Investments in new technologies; Investments in social and pedagogic activities aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues. Possible rhetorical advantage of the use of term performance: Generalising effect difficult to evaluate the impact of single aspects; Technical parameter authoritative, credible voice

25 Performance – environment – negative contexts. (11) Nel 2008 le condizioni meteo sfavorevoli e lintervento di potenziamento di Terna sulla rete di trasmissione nazionale in Puglia, che ha determinato una riduzione della produzione dei parchi di Troia San Vincenzo e Troia San Cireo, hanno influito sulla performance produttiva. (Rapporto di Sostenibilità, 2008, p. 13) Rhetorical advantage of the use of the Anglicism: Positive connotation (technical and international nuances); Nominalization and factual tone: by using the expression performance produttiva, texts producers avoid encoding ERG as a discourse participant (e.g. le condizioni meteo sfavorevoli […] hanno influito sulle prestazioni produttive del Gruppo; Nel 2008 ERG ha avuto un andamento sfavorevole a causa delle condizioni meteo […]). Mitigation of emotional response strategy of perpetuation and justification (Van Leeuwen and Wodak, 1999) of the status quo of the corporation.

26 Concluding remarks Anglicisms, such as stakeholder and performance, may give rhetorical advantage to the text producers enabling them to mitigate or even obfuscate the tensions that characterise the relationship between a corporations search for profit and its green claims: Ambiguity of the semantic referent; Positive connotation of Anglicisms; Mitigation of (negative) responses. Corporate environmental discourse in general? Interdisciplinarity in the study of greenwashing: Critical Discourse Analysis; Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis; Business Studies.

27 References Alexander, R.J. (2009). Framing Discourse on the Environment: A Critical Discourse Approach. New York: Routledge. Cortelazzo, M. and P. Zolli (1999). Dizionario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana (DELI). Bologna: Zanichelli. C a i m o t t o & M o l i n o P a g e | 16 Devoto, G. and G.C. Oli (2004). Dizionario Devoto Oli della Lingua Italiana. Firenze: Le Monnier. Furiassi, C. (2008). What dictionaries leave out: New non-adapted Anglicisms in Italian. In A. Martelli and V. Pulcini (eds.), Investigating English with Corpora: Studies in Honour of Maria Teresa Prat. Milano: Polimetrica. pp Fairclough, N. (2000). New Labour, New Language? London: Routledge. Fairclough, N. and R. Wodak (1997). Critical Discourse Analysis. In T. van Dijk (ed.), Discourse as Social Interaction. London: Sage. pp Freeman, R.E. (1984). Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Boston, MA: Pitman. Gotti, M. (1991). I linguaggi Specialistici. Firenze: La Nuova Italia. Hansen, A. and D. Machin (2008). Visually branding the environment: climate change as a marketing opportunity. Discourse Studies 10 (6): Harré, R., Brockmeier, J. and P. Mulhausler (1998). Greenspeak: A Study of Environmental Discourse. London: Sage. Martin, E. (2007). Frenglish for sale: multilingual discourses for addressing todays global consumer. World Englishes 26 (2): Martin, J.R. (1992). English Text: System and Structure. Philadelphia/Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Mitchell, R., Agle, B.R. and D.J. Wood (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. The Academy of Management Review 22 (4): Ramus, C. and I. Montiel (2005). When are corporate environmental policies a form of greenwashings?. Business and Society 44 (4): Sabatini, F. and V. Coletti (2003). Il Sabatini Coletti 2004: Dizionario Della Lingua Italiana. Milano: Rizzoli Larousse. van Leeuwen, T. and R. Wodak (1999). Legitimizing immigration control: a discourse-historical analysis. Discourse Studies 1 (1): van Dijk, T.A. (2001). Multidisciplinary CDA: A plea for diversity. In R. Wodak and M. Meyer (eds.), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage. pp van Dijk, T.A. (2006). Discourse and manipulation. Discourse & Society 17 (3):

28 Caimotto M.C. & A. Molino, (2011), Anglicisms in Italian as alerts to greenwashing: a case study, in Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis A cross Disciplines (CADAAD), 5 (1), pp

29 Activities Word formation: Using an online monolingual dictionary, investigate the meanings of wash. Identify the meaning which was used to create the word greenwashing. Use one of the corpora available online (e.g. COCA, Google Books) and/or the Internet to find out new recent uses. Contextual analysis: Analyse the website of other renowned petrol companies (e.g. Shell, Bp, Chevron – English; Agip, Api, Esso - Italian ) and focus on the following: Emphasis on environmental issues through visual strategies The use of the term stakeholder VAGUENESS of the semantic referent? Interesting marketing and communication strategies which may require a critical approach (e.g. hedges)

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