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EMAC 2022 Annual

Avoiding greenwashing: should fashion brands create a separate sustainable collection to present their eco-friendly products?

Published: May 24, 2022


Natacha Kahan, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management; Virginie Bruneau, Université libre de Bruxelles; Catherine Janssen, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management - Université libre de Bruxelles


Many fashion brands are seeking to improve their environmental performance by introducing eco-friendly products in their assortment, alongside their conventional products (e.g., C&A, Chanel, H&M, Maje, Zara). A strategic choice for these brands is to decide whether to present these eco-friendly products in a separate collection or to integrate them into their already existing conventional collections. In this paper, we investigate whether grouping eco-friendly products in a separate sustainable collection (vs. already existing collection) has an impact on consumers' perception of the brand’s greenwashing. With the help of an online experiment, our results suggest that putting eco-friendly products together in a separate collection highlights the difference between eco-friendly and conventional products in the assortment, leading to conventional products being perceived as less sustainable. In turn, this results in a greater perception of greenwashing.