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Greenhushing: the deliberate under communicating of sustainability practices by tourism businesses

Font, X, Elgammal, I and Lamond, I (2016) Greenhushing: the deliberate under communicating of sustainability practices by tourism businesses Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

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Greenhushing selectively communicates fewer pro-sustainability actions by businesses than are practiced; based on a perception of customers’ rights to consumerism. We first studied the gap between the communication of sustainability practices in the audits and websites of 31 small rural tourism businesses in the Peak District National Park (UK). The analysis showed that businesses only communicate 30% of all the sustainability actions practiced. Their websites emphasised customer benefits, using explicit, affective, experiential and active language that legitimises the customers’ hedonistic use of the landscape, while downplaying complex issues and normalising sustainability to reduce customer guilt. Just one website mentioned climate change. We found that greenhushing results from a low moral intensity, masking potentially negative consequences of perceived lower competence, whilst protecting business from more cynical consumers who may interpret their statements as hypocritical. Subsequent textual analysis and interviews were used to understand how communication constitutes these organisations. We propose that greenhushing reshapes and constitutes tourism businesses through their communications. Moreover, greenhushing is a form of public moralisation that adopts communication practices similar to greenwashing, reflecting the social norms expected from a business; however, in this case, located in a moral muteness, rather than moral hypocrisy, that businesses accept but resent.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Sustainability
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Authors :
Font, X
Elgammal, I
Lamond, I
Date : 29 March 2016
DOI : 10.1080/09669582.2016.1158829
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2016 Taylor & Francis
Uncontrolled Keywords : Sustainability, Ethics, Rural, Discourse analysis, Rhetoric, Greenwashing
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 08 Feb 2017 10:08
Last Modified : 08 Feb 2017 10:08

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