Sustainability communication in fashion online shops: A study on sustainability signals and consumer insights


Barbara Behre (CJS & CEPEC)


Verolien Cauberghe (CJS)


Dieneke Van de Sompel (CEPEC)


Consumers often report positive attitudes towards ethical and ecological clothing alternatives, yet are reluctant to engage in more sustainable fashion consumption, based on unfavorable value perceptions compared to conventional clothing. Sustainability is often not (seen as) the main purchase criterion, but rather an ‘added value’, while the underlying mechanism of how (different aspects of) sustainability and the framing thereof may add value for fashion consumers, especially in online shops, still requires further investigation.

Therefore, the current research project aims to uncover the interplay of sustainability aspects central in the fashion industry (ecological and social) and ‘traditional purchase criteria’ in how it may affect consumers through various latent mechanisms. Specifically, the use framing to circumvent cognitive barriers and encourage sustainable consumption will be investigated through a series of empirical studies, drawing on i.e. perceived distance, credibility, social and cultural norms.