Valutare e migliorare la comunicazione digitale per la sostenibilità: un modello operativo per i siti web. (Evaluating and improving digital communication for sustainability: an operating model for websites)

  • Alfonso Siano
  • Francesca Conte
  • Sara Amabile
  • Agostino Vollero
  • Paolo Piciocchi
Keywords: corporate sustainability; digital communication; website; greenwashing


Purpose of the paper: The paper aims to assess and improve the requirements of communication for sustainability in the corporate website through an operational model.

Methodology: The model has been developed on the basis of indications deriving from the literature review both in the field of corporate sustainability and digital communication, and from the analysis of the website of the organizations classified by the Reputation Institute in the “Global CSR RepTrak 2015”. To test the feasibility of the model, a pilot study was carried out by evaluating the website of the organizations belonging to the banking and pharmaceutical industries.

Findings: The model is based on an architecture of factors: macro-item, item and micro-item. It enables to measure and assess the requirements of the communication for sustainability in the website, providing a score to the individual companies and industry-ranking. The allocation of the scores in the model includes potential penalties if greenwashing is detected. The model also allows to identify critical areas that need corrective actions.

Research limits: The model does not pretend to be exhaustive as it focuses on a limited number of factors. The simplification deriving from the use of dichotomous variables if it can appear a weakness on the one hand, it ensures the reduction of subjectivity and the ambiguity in the detection of the factors on the website, on the other hand.

Practical implications: The study provides managers and consultants of digital communication with an operational tool by which to obtain useful information to assess and improve communication for sustainability in the official website of profit and non profit organizations.

Originality of the paper: The model is the first proposal in the academic field of a tool which analyzes, assesses and improves the online communication for sustainability of websites.


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