Gargi Bhaduri, a doctoral student, and Jung Ha-Brookshire, an assistant professor of textile and apparel management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri, surveyed apparel consumers to find out if they were willing to pay a premium for products produced using sustainable and ethical methods.
They found that consumers would be willing to pay 15%-20% more for such products. However, they also found that consumers are likely to remain skeptical about apparel companies' claims of transparency and sustainability.
"While consumers seem willing to support businesses that do practice sustainability and ethics, general distrust in the transparency of all apparel businesses tend to keep consumers from spending money on those businesses with sustainable practices," Bhaduri says.
Bhaduri and Ha-Brookshire found that consumer skepticism of corporate transparency stems from the suspicion that sustainability claims are falsified or exaggerated by apparel companies as marketing ploys. Their study suggests that consumers feel the need for authentication of these businesses' claims from one standardized and objective authority, like the government, whom they can trust.
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