Business storytelling about energy and climate change: The case of Brazil's ethanol industry

L.L. Benites-Lazaro*, N.A. Mello-Théry, M. Lahsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change narratives often evoke scary scenarios. But in business discourses, the climate change narrative often emerges as an opportunity rather than a threat. This paper examines the predominant business storytelling ploys used by Brazil's sugarcane industry association, UNICA to promote the industry as environmentally and socially responsible. We used both qualitative and quantitative narrative analysis to analyze thirty-five videos and multimedia presentations produced as part of UNICA's marketing communications. Drawing on insights about tropes variously evoking hero stories, learning stories and horror stories, we conclude that the sugarcane industry has developed hero and learning stories that portray the sugarcane industry as a sustainable business and ethanol as a ‘green hero’, a green, renewable energy that helps reduce greenhouses gas emissions and thus saves humanity from climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Ethanol
  • Hierarchical clustering
  • Multidimensional scaling
  • Narrative
  • Narrative analysis
  • Storytelling


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