This master thesis is research about sustainable businesses with a focus on waste reduction. When looking at climate change, it can be stated that waste and waste management are an important part of the causes of climate change. This research looked at businesses that aim to reduce waste to a minimum by either offering services or products. After critically looking at the research surrounding the field of sustainable businesses and communicating sustainability, three main concepts were found for this research which are optimistic versus pessimistic messaging, the personalization of climate change communication and involvement methods. These concepts say something about climate change communication and how it is utilized to get a message across to the receiver. The method for this research was a qualitative content analysis with a rhetorical analysis to analyse all of the gathered Instagram posts. For this study, there were four businesses selected, which are Too Good To Go, Pieter Pot, The Good Roll and Smol. These businesses are active on Instagram and use their Instagram profile to inform their followers about their services, products and other topics surrounding environmental issues. The key findings of this study are that sustainable businesses with a focus on waste reduction use their Instagram to post about their own business operations, the importance of tackling the waste crisis and climate change in general and about how their followers can contribute to this. Next to that, they make use of a strong combination of visuals and text, to make the information accessible to everyone. This research also found that most businesses use a combination of neutral and optimistic messages to get their idea across and they are making their communication personal by including useful tips and information that is recognizable to their followers in their everyday life, which makes the information more reachable and usable for their followers. Suggestions for further research are analysing more sustainable businesses with a focus on waste reduction, to see if the findings of this study are seen among other businesses as well and to include businesses from more different countries than only the three countries included in this research, which are The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and The United States of America.

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Dr. Radhika Mittal
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Vera Mezas. (2023, February 24). Communicating sustainability in the age of social media. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from