Environmental paradigms in sustainability reports of energy sector organizations

Sabrina Soares da Silva Ricardo Pereira Reis Robson Amâncio About the authors

This study aims to understand the meanings attributed to sustainability in organizations and how these meanings can be related to environmental paradigms. It was discussed the anthropocentrism, in their individual and collective perspectives, the ecocentrism also the individual and the collective, and the sustaincentrism. A qualitative descriptive analysis was carried out, based on content analysis of sustainability reports and material available in sites of a sample of three energy sector organizations. The meanings attributed to sustainability are related, in most organizations, with the individual anthropocentric paradigm without distancing from the purpose to serve only the interests of the organizations owners. In this view, sustainability concepts were related to organizational growth, profitability, leadership and good practices in corporate governance. Also in the individual perspective, but close to the ecocentrism view, sustainability was linked to environmental legislation enforcement and eco-efficiency. There were also speeches related to anthropocentrism, but with some proximity to their collective perspective, when sustainability is seen as different forms of social investments and programs and social responsibility. Similarly, the association with socio-environmental responsibility also sought a more collectivist vision, aiming to not restrict their concern to humanity, but also with other life forms. Although the meanings attributed to sustainability aim, somehow, to express collective concerns, they are not equivalent to say that the organization is sustainable. None of the meanings attributed to the sustainability refer to its original meaning, associated with overcoming the dichotomy between humanity and nature and the maintenance of the whole biota in the long term. Organizational discourses, even when referring to sustainability, had as central theme the organizational financial performance, strengthening the individualist anthropocentric paradigm. The social and environmental actions presented in these reports contribute in the search for solutions to socio-environmental problems, but they are still very punctual and isolated, indicating no change on the anthropocentric dominant worldview.

Sustainability; Environment paradigms; Anthropocentrism; Ecocentrism; Sustainability reporting


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