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Sustainability efforts in the fast fashion industry: consumer perception, trust and purchase intention

Hannah L. Neumann (Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)
Luisa M. Martinez (IPAM Lisboa and UNIDCOM/IADE, Universidade Europeia, Lisboa, Portugal)
Luis F. Martinez (Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 29 July 2020

Issue publication date: 13 May 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to test for factors affecting environmental sustainability and purchase intention in the fashion industry. Accordingly, the authors developed a framework that depicts the relationships between perceptions of social responsibility, consumer attitude, trust, purchase intention and perceived consumer effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was conducted with an internationally diverse sample of 216 consumers. Data were analysed using partial least squares structural equation modelling.

Findings

The results indicated that perceptions of social responsibility directly affect consumers’ attitudes towards these fashion brands, as well as trust and perceived consumer effectiveness. Also, consumers need to perceive sustainability efforts of these brands as altruistic, and trust was found to be a direct predictor of purchase intention. However, both consumer attitude and perceived consumer effectiveness did not predict purchase intention.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was primarily distributed to young people. Therefore, a generalisation of the findings to other age groups might be limited.

Practical implications

Practicing managers should emphasise the fact that environmental sustainability and fast fashion brands could be sustainable to increase trust among consumers.

Social implications

When it comes to environmental issues, positive perceptions regarding the companies’ social responsibility efforts are vital to enhance both consumers’ trust towards the brands and their individual feeling of empowerment.

Originality/value

This study intends to shed light on the key elements that shape consumers’ attitudes and willingness to purchase green apparel.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 5th Symposium on Ethics and Social Responsibility, ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal, 6–7 June 2019. This work was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (UID/ECO/00124/2013, UID/ECO/00124/2019 and Social Sciences DataLab, LISBOA-01–0145-FEDER-022209), POR Lisboa (LISBOA-01–0145-FEDER-007722, LISBOA-01–0145-FEDER-022209) and POR Norte (LISBOA-01–0145-FEDER-022209). This study was also supported by UNIDCOM under a Grant by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (UIDB/DES/00711/2020) attributed to UNIDCOM/IADE – Unidade de Investigação em Design e Comunicação, Lisbon, Portugal.

Citation

Neumann, H.L., Martinez, L.M. and Martinez, L.F. (2021), "Sustainability efforts in the fast fashion industry: consumer perception, trust and purchase intention", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 571-590. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-11-2019-0405

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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