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Evaluation of certified B Corps in the apparel, footwear and accessory industry

Jitong Li (Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)
Karen K. Leonas (Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)

Research Journal of Textile and Apparel

ISSN: 1560-6074

Article publication date: 11 December 2020

Issue publication date: 31 May 2021

211

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the sustainability performances of apparel, footwear and accessory (AFA) B Corps, providing companies, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, with reasonable suggestions on how to incorporate the concept of sustainability efficiently.

Design/methodology/approach

This study focused on 117 AFA B Corps. B Corps’ overall sustainability performances consist of their performances in the five areas of governance, workers, community, environment and customers. First, the 117 B Corps’ performances in these areas were compared. Second, multiple regression models were built to predict the B Corps’ sustainability performances based on their inherent characteristics (headquarter location, age, size and industry sector). Third, according to the B Corps’ performances in the five areas, the B Corps were clustered using the hieratical clustering method.

Findings

This study found that the B Corps’ performances in different areas were significantly different and their performances in the area of the community were better than in the other four areas. The B Corps’ characteristics were correlated to their sustainability performances. For example, company size was positively related to the B Corps’ performances in the area of workers. Additionally, Clusters 1, 2 and 3 were identified and characterized by their competitive performances in the areas of governance, workers and community, respectively.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the knowledge of AFA B Corps’ sustainability performances, identifying the weakness and strongness of the sustainable practices accepted by existing AFA B Corps and lending insights regarding how to predict and improve sustainability performances.

Keywords

Citation

Li, J. and Leonas, K.K. (2021), "Evaluation of certified B Corps in the apparel, footwear and accessory industry", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 118-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-07-2020-0077

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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