Purpose, communication and sustainability. Towards closing the trust gap.

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We are living in a crisis of trust. The trust gap between citizens and government, employees and companies and consumer and industry is only getting bigger and bigger, according to the Edleman Trust Barometer (2019). In this context, fashion and the rise of fast fashion has profited from the globalization of labor and led to a constant stream of garments in a system that is inherently unsustainable (Gardetti & Torres, 2013). Several companies within the fashion industry have made attempts at implementing Corporate Social Responsibility policies in order to counter this unsustainability, but when communicating these efforts, have been faced with accusations of greenwashing, academical criticisms and naming and shaming tactics that have only enlarged the trust gap. Faced with this scrutiny, several companies have adopted an Organizational Purpose, a narrative, value-based tool that gives meaning to the existence of the company. In this research, an attempt is made to analyze this intersection between CSR, Communication and Fashion through analyzing the intentions and ambitions, implementation procedures and communication strategies of Kering, Suitsupply and Inditex in order to ascertain the role of Organizational Purpose in the endeavor of communicating sustainability.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen