Consumer Knowledge of the Environmental Impacts of Textile and Apparel Production, Concern for the Environment, and Environmentally Friendly Consumption Behavior

Deborah J.C. Brosdahl, Jason M. Carpenter


Many textile and apparel manufacturers are attempting to address consumer demand for environmentally friendly products. However, few empirical studies exist to help researchers understand the relationships between the antecedents to consumers’ eco-friendly consumption behavior in the context of textiles and apparel. Only two studies directly explore the linkages between consumers’ knowledge of the environmental impacts of production, concern for the environment, and environmentally friendly consumption behavior within the context of textiles and apparel (Butler and Francis, 1997; Kim and Damhorst, 1998). Moreover, these and other studies from the broader literature on sustainability report conflicting results in terms the influence of knowledge and concern on actual consumption behavior (e.g., Hines et al., 1987; Schahn and Holzer, 1990; Vining and Ebreo, 1990; Chan, 1999; Takacs-Santa, 2007). The current research uses structural equation modeling (SEM) among a sample of consumers (N= 429) to examine the relationships between knowledge, concern, and consumption behavior for environmentally friendly textile and apparel products. Rival models are compared to clarify the relationships between the focal constructs, with findings suggesting that knowledge of the environmental impacts of textile and apparel production leads to concern for the environment, which in turn leads to environmentally friendly consumption behavior.

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