Matthew Schneider

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Los Angeles, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10628

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Schneider, Matthew (California, Los Angeles, U. of) "Signs of Change and the Business of Climate Transition"

Based in the City of London, this project investigates the professional and ideological work involved in a sector I call green business services, or GBS. Generating and interpreting climate risk analytics, emissions accounting, decarbonization strategy, and other new informatic interventions, GBS makes its business the ‘how’ of other businesses’ decarbonizing transitions. My research traces the expansion of GBS business and interventions—positioned amid climate science and corporate disclosure requirements—as complexly interrelated with the intensifying critique of greenwashing: that transition changes in and through business are superficial, inaccurate, or deceptive. The object of imminent regulation and potential litigation in the UK and beyond, greenwashing is much discussed in GBS as a practice to critique, avoid, and counteract. Drawing together sociocultural and linguistic anthropological approaches, I examine how signs of change in greenhouse gas emissions, in economic values, and in language itself circulate, combine, and clash in the business of GBS and the regulation of greenwashing. I consider how ideologies about these signs shape the making and evaluation of change in business, in distinguishing meaningful and effective greening from its greenwashing Other. More broadly, this project offers insight on semiotic ideologies of talk and action, as these contour possibilities of climate transition.