A few months ago, I told you that entrepreneurs are getting greener. But that doesn’t mean the public is necessarily buying it. Many consumers are questioning the green claims. Retail Wire addressed how businesses can overcome consumers’ ‘green’ skepticism.

A new survey focusing on the fashion industry from clean manufacturer Genomatica shows 86% of consumers believe sustainability is a good goal. But 72% are aware of environmental sustainability issues in the fashion industry, such as excess consumption, carbon emissions, and water pollution from dye processes.

Consumers want to make more environmentally-friendly choices when shopping for clothes, but 42% are confused by a lack of availability and trustworthy information on what makes clothing more (or less) sustainable.

In addition:

  • 88% of consumers don’t immediately trust brands that say they’re sustainable, and 51% believe “greenwashing” is common in the fashion industry
  • 55% want clothing companies to help them understand how their products are more sustainable than alternatives
  • 50% say a sustainability label would help them identify sustainable clothes

This green skepticism also impacts other industries. Another recent survey conducted for Whole Foods reveals that while 75% of Americans say it’s important to them that products are responsibly sourced, 65% are confused about how to determine if those claims are accurate.

The confusion is not confined to the U.S. A study commissioned by haircare brand weDo/Professional found 57% of UK consumers consider themselves to be sustainable and ethical shoppers, but 61% struggle trying to figure out if hair and skincare products are ethical from the packaging.

At a panel discussion hosted by the NRF I mentioned a few weeks ago, the business leaders noted that “today’s consumers are looking for more than just good products at great prices—they expect brands to stand for something. Consumers are particularly concerned about sustainability.”

If you are making green or sustainability promises, make it easy for your customers to believe you. For example, provide stats from credible third-party sources on your packaging and in your marketing materials.

Sustainable clothing stock photo by B.Forenius/Shutterstock