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The COVID-19 pandemic and rising demand for transparency has heightened the importance of sustainability communications on social media to generate deeper stakeholder engagement. Although B Corporations (B Corps), businesses committed to the triple bottom line (TBL), could serve as a catalyst for sustainable development, little is known about how they communicate on social media during a crisis. Therefore, we examined social media communications of B Corps to (1) identify salient topics and themes, (2) analyze how these themes align with the TBL, and (3) evaluate social media performance against industry benchmarks. We focused on the apparel, footwear, and accessories (AFA) sectors in the U.S. and chose Twitter, a platform known for crisis communication. Using a qualitative method, we found four topics and 21 underlying themes. Topics related to social/environmental issues and COVID-19 were most dominant, followed by product/brand promotions. Further classification of specific themes and cases from a TBL perspective demonstrated that, overall, B Corps in the AFA sectors leveraged various approaches to promote balance between each TBL dimension. Lastly, although collectively B Corps exceeded some of the Twitter industry benchmarks, at an individual level, most brands had room for improvement to build a stronger community and promote synergy among the three pillars of the TBL.


Published Citation

Mann, Manveer, Sang-Eun Byun, and Whitney Ginder. "B Corps’ Social Media Communications during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Through the Lens of the Triple Bottom Line." Sustainability 13, no. 17 (2021): 9634.