Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jamie Sommer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Green, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.


sociology, content analysis, qualitative research, formula story, sustainability


There are widespread colloquial arguments claiming that any actions taken to combat climate change will be bad for business and the economy, scaring people into continuing their support for the status quo for fear of their financial security. Alternatively, those attempting to combat ecological destruction have subsequently made transitions to sustainable development of products and shifting consumer behavior within this system. There is one core argument that both sides have, albeit in different ways – capitalism and environmentalism are seemingly incompatible; one cannot be successful without the eradication of the other. While it may appear there are only strict binary options in this situation, there is a unique liminal space that houses a missing connection: “green” businesses are not only supporting environmentalism, but are profiting, creating jobs, and contributing to the economy, thus supporting the current economic system and ultimately countering both sides of the popularized narrative that the two cannot coexist. After conducting a narrative analysis of 50 member stories published by the Green Business Network, four major themes emerged: 1) The Good American Character’s Connection to Business, 2) The Morality of Green Business, 3) Green Business Allyship with Capitalism, and 4) What’s Missing?. They are challenging the popularized narratives and showing an alternative path; you can participate within the culture of capitalism, run a successful business, help people, and minimize environmental harm. The narrative of the GBN shows that it is not necessary to entirely dismantle capitalism or continue to damage the environment in the same manner; green businesses have shown themselves as successful at participating within capitalism while also minimizing harm toward the environment.