Consumers’ understanding and use of textile eco-labels during pre-purchase decision making
Eco-labels inform consumers regarding products’ environmental friendliness and emerged as a world-wide phenomenon because of increased environmental awareness and concern. Textile eco-labels, which are also available in South Africa, are intended to help consumers make decisions regarding textile products with environmentally friendly attributes. This study explored consumers’ understanding and use of textile eco-labels during pre-purchase decision-making in a South African context. Respondents were recruited through snowball sampling (N=234) to complete a self-administered online questionnaire. Results suggested that respondents were environmentally conscious only to some extent and that they objectively understood eco-textile products, but that they did not understand textile eco-labels or label information regarding organic cotton production processes. Even though most respondents indicated that they use and purchase textile eco-labelled products and are willing to pay more for such products, price and unavailability were barriers restricting some respondents from including such products in their general purchase choice range. Findings encourage consumer education regarding textile eco-labels and environmental aspects, particularly among certain demographic subgroups in South Africa.