Is the urban Indian consumer ready for clothing with eco-labels?


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Is the urban Indian consumer ready for clothing with eco-labels?

  1. 1. International Journal of Consumer Studies ISSN 1470-6423 Is the urban Indian consumer ready for clothing with eco-labels? Paromita Goswami Department of Marketing, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India Keywords Abstract India, eco-labelled clothing, consumers, willingness to pay more. India has witnessed rapid strides of development at sustained growth rates of more than 8% and has seen a huge spurt in consumption. Consequently, it has been estimated that the Correspondence increased consumption may result in the country becoming one of the leading offenders Paromita Goswami, Department of Marketing, relating to environmental pollution. The textiles industry in India is traditionally one of the Xavier Institute of Management, Xavier worst offenders of pollution, with its small units following outdated technology processes. Square, Room 121, CENDERET Building, One opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of clothing industry in India is to Bhubaneswar, Orissa-751013, India. concentrate textile production within environmentally certified or eco-labelled clothing. In E-mail:; the absence of existing research, this study investigates whether the urban Indian popula- tion would be interested in clothing with eco-labels. The results suggest the existence of a segment of consumers who are positively motivated towards eco-labelled garments. doi: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2008.00716.x This segment profile is described in terms of demographic and psychographic variables. Managerial implications and future directions are suggested. respectively, in 2006 with an annual percentage change of 11% 1. Introduction and 10% over 2005 (WTO, 2007). The textile industry is inher- The environment is emerging as one of the most important busi- ently unsustainable, has a wide environmental and toxicological ness issues of the decade (e.g. Carson and Moulden, 1991). The impact and has been condemned as being one of the worst offend- ecological footprint1 of humanity has exceeded the bio-capacity of ers on earth in terms of pollution (Walters et al., 2005; Interna- earth by 25% (Living Planet Report, 2006). The recent United tional Centre for Creativity Innovation Sustainability, 2008; Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2008). Environmental issues arise at all stages Report place the probability of the link between human activity of the textile and apparel supply chain and the expansion of textile and global warming at more than 90%, against the 66–90% like- production and consumption has contributed to increasing pollu- lihood it signalled in 2001 (IPCC Report, 2007). tion, water shortages, fossil fuel and raw material depletion, and India is growing at a rapid pace with the World Bank viewing climate change (Textile Outlook International, 2007). Although India as the strongest performer in South Asia with an estimated environmental issues arise at all stages of the textile and apparel 9% GDP growth in 2007. This GDP growth is expected to remain supply chain, most of the environmental footprint of textiles occur vibrant despite decelerating moderately to 8.4% in 2008 (Burns, during production, largely as a result of the amount of chemical 2008). While sustained growth rates of India of 8% or more will auxiliaries required to produce finished fabrics (Walters et al., ensure economic progress, a recent World Bank report warned that 2005). The technological development in global textile indus- the resulting changes in consumption patterns may have serious tries has been rapid, but the textile industry in India has largely environmental implications given the polluting processes of been driven by small units that practice age-old methods of certain industries (World Bank, 2007). Textiles belong to the ‘red bleaching and dyeing, which adversely affect the balance of category’ of major polluting processes as this sector pollute water the local ecology. A case in point is Tiruppur which produces 90% and air to a significant degree and cause hazardous waste of cotton knitwear of India where the outdated methods of pro- (, 2007). India’s ranking in world trade is fifth in duction have caused immense damage to rivers, ground water, clothing and seventh in textiles and as per the latest available agricultural land and the health of the ecosystem (Jacob and World Trade Organization (WTO) data the percentage share of Azariah, 1997). Pointing out the immense damage to the environ- India in the global clothing, and textiles trade was 3.3% and 4.3%, ment caused by the textile industry of Tirrupur, Nelliyat (2004) suggests that the role that the consumers may play could be 1 Comparison of human demand and consumption of natural resources with significant in pressurizing the industry to introduce clean the Earth’s ecological capacity to regenerate them. 438 International Journal of Consumer Studies 32 (2008) 438–446 © The Author Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  2. 2. P. Goswami Clothing with eco-labels in India technology and demand for ‘pollution-free’ garments. Conse- of India (GoI) has initiated a scheme in 1991, which is basically a quently, a valid research question in this context is: Are Indian scheme of labelling eco-friendly products (Challa, 2008). This consumers ready to demand ‘pollution-free’ garments? If so, what scheme aims at distinguishing through the ‘Eco-Mark’, any are the characteristics of these consumers? Moreover, would they product that is made, used or disposed of in a way that signifi- be willing to pay a premium for such apparel? This paper seeks to cantly reduces the adverse effect that it would otherwise have on respond to these questions. the environment, with the Earthen Pot as the logo of this scheme. The GoI has also evolved voluntary eco standards for the eco- 2. Literature review labelling of the textile items and the criteria for environmentally friendly textiles in consultation with the Indian Textile Trade and 2.1 Eco-labels Industry (notified in the Gazette on October 8, 1996 by Ministry of Environment and Forests) (3TS, 2008). While eco-labelling in Just by looking at a textile product it is difficult to see whether it other countries is gaining popularity, the initiatives taken by the has been made from conventional or organic cotton, or dyed with GoI are still waiting for a breakthrough (Chaturvedi and Nagpal, non-toxic or harmful dye-stuffs (Allwood et al., 2006). Hence it is 2003). not easy for the consumer to make an environmentally responsible purchase decision as one should ideally consider fibre production, product manufacturing process, as well as what will happen to the 2.3 Consumers and eco-labels product during and after their useful life (Chen and Burns, 2006). Lifestyle or psychographic variables explain green commitment Therefore, a class of eco-labels is being introduced with require- better than traditional socio-economic background variables ments which manufacturers must meet before they can call their (Haanpaa, 2007). Individual environmental consciousness (EC) is products ‘green’ (Allwood et al., 2006). Environment-friendly known to influence decision on behaviour (Shen et al., 2005). It is labels or eco-labels manifest the efforts of an industry to become surprising to note that even when environmental concern is high, or be perceived as environment-friendly (Nimon and Beghin, the practices of environmentally responsible behaviour are not in 1999). Eco-labels are normally issued either by Government sup- congruence with the level of concern and knowledge (Said et al., ported or private enterprises once it has been proved that the 2003). Similar findings have also been reported in certain coun- product of the applicant has met the criteria set by them for the tries like Japan where EC is increasing whereas environmentally label (Hyvärinen, 1999). For the purpose of issuing eco-labels in friendly behaviour is not (Suzuki et al., 2004). Again, although respect of textile products generally the Cradle-to-Grave approach no strong relationship was found between environmental knowl- is followed, that is, criteria are developed on analysing the entire edge and attitudes (Martin and Simintiras, 1995), environmental life cycle of the product commencing with extraction of raw mate- attitudes are found to be the most consistent predictor of pro- rials, progressing through the stages of production, distribution environmental/ecological purchasing behaviour (Schlegelmilch and utilization and disposal after use (3TS, 2008). Although a et al., 1996; Fraj and Martinez, 2007). It has been emphasized that product may have met all the criteria for an eco-label certification, it is important to include the intention variable in models predict- a manufacturer would go for such certification only if it brings ing environmentally responsible purchase behaviour and cau- credibility to the claims of the manufacturer regarding the tioned that the failure to do so in some previous studies may have environment-friendliness of his/her ware. In other words, an eco- contributed to the low correlation found between environmental label is like any other product and has to earn its acceptability and attitudes and behaviour (Follows and Jobber, 2000). There are credibility in the marketplace (Knowledge Bank IIMM, 2008). positive correlations between EC, environmental certification involvement, perceived importance of certification and the will- 2.2 Value of eco-labels in India ingness to pay (WTP) more for environmentally friendly products Öko-Tex standard 100, the world’s leading eco label for textiles, (Vlosky et al., 1999). Vlosky et al. (1999) reported environmental has granted 20,000 certificates to millions of textile products certification involvement and perceived importance of certification (, 2008). Indian companies like Reliance Industries to be the strongest predictors of WTP more for environmentally Ltd., Arvind Mills, Alok Industries, Rajasthan Spinning and certified products. Weaving Mills, Tirupur Exporters’ Association, Gujrat Garment But do consumers use information in eco-labels when purchas- Manufacturers’ Association are all rolling out environment- ing clothing? Dickson (2001) empirically analysed whether con- friendly textiles not only for exports but also for domestic con- sumers making apparel purchases would use a label guaranteeing sumption (Mehta, 2008). Manufacturers such as Mumbai-based certain working conditions found only a small percentage of con- Alok Industries Ltd. have decided to increase its output of organic sumers to be influenced by the label. However, the label they cotton from 5% in 2007–2008 to 15% in 2008–2009 (Jiwrajka, tested was a value-based label guaranteeing employee working MD, Alok Industries as quoted by Mehta, 2008). Such green conditions rather than environmental certification. However, the options being expensive, consumers would believe manufacturers’ findings of a recent study in Australia suggest that with the passage claims on the environment-friendliness of products only if such of time, acceptance of eco-labels by consumers may have claims are substantiated through third party independent certifica- increased. Here, shoppers responded more positively to product- tions. This aspect has been emphasized by D’Souza et al. (2007a) related environmental messages when purchasing clothing than who argued that environmental labels are more credible when cause-related messages; and environmental claims were more endorsed by third party labelling experts. credible if attributed to the green brands than to neutral brands To enhance awareness about the environmental impacts of (Phau and Ong, 2007). Hyvärinen (1999) questioned whether products, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government average consumers will be willing to pay a ‘premium’ for an International Journal of Consumer Studies 32 (2008) 438–446 © The Author 439 Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  3. 3. Clothing with eco-labels in India P. Goswami environmentally friendly product if there is a choice of an identical in their needs (Kotler et al., 2007). Segmentation of consumers is – and a cheaper – product which does not carry an eco-label and therefore a necessity and identification of an appropriate segment thus, suggested conducting detailed and objective surveys among for marketing a particular product or service is to be done. consumers to find out whether they are indeed interested in eco- Besides, textile products with eco-labels being costlier than matters – and at what price. In a study to identify the market apparel without eco-labels, we need to understand whether the valuation of environmental attributes of apparel goods, Nimon and consumers are willing to pay more for such products. Hence the Beghin (1999) identified a significant and robust premium for variables we shall consider for segmenting the consumers are EC, environment-friendly organic fibres embodied in the apparel involvement in environmental certification, importance of certifi- goods. Here, consumers may opt for higher-priced eco-labelled cation, and WTP more for environmentally certified cloth. Accord- apparel as it may indicate higher quality of the product (Heisey, ingly, we shall investigate the following research questions: 1990). Similar perception has been found to exist among purchas- 1 Are there different typologies of Urban Indian Consumers in ers of clothing from alternative trading organizations (non-profit terms of EC, involvement in environmental certification/eco- organizations marketing socially responsible products from devel- labels, and perception of the importance of certification/eco- oping countries) who felt such clothing was of superior quality labels? compared with the quality perceived by non-purchasers and other 2 If such typologies exist, does the WTP more for environmen- product purchasers (Dickson and Littrell, 1997). tally certified/eco-labelled clothing vary across such typologies? The relevant question in this context is whether Indian consum- Accordingly, the following hypotheses are proposed: ers are ready for environmentally certified clothing products, and H1: There are different typologies of urban Indian consumers in if so, who are these consumers and are they willing to pay a terms of EC, involvement in environmental certification/eco-labels premium for such eco-labelled clothing. and perception of the importance of certification/eco-labels. H2: The WTP more for environmentally certified/eco-labelled clothing vary across typologies of consumers. 2.4 Indian consumers and environmental concerns 3. Methodology To understand the extent to which Indian consumers may be willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, The study was carried out in two metro cities (Kolkata and (2005) found that as many as 71% of online con- Mumbai) and two non-metro cities (Guwahati and Bhubaneswar) sumers in India are willing to pay more for socially responsible of India. A systematic sampling design was followed and mall products. Interestingly this premium that Indian consumers are intercept method was used for data collection. To ensure the willing to pay is significantly more than their counterparts in systematic sampling design, every fifth customer leaving a mall/ developed nations like UK where it is only 47%. It is apparent that shopping centre was approached to complete a structured ques- Indians believe in the genuine need to consider environmental tionnaire. The questionnaire comprised a battery of scales chosen issues and perceive people in India as willing to take environmen- from available literature to assess the EC of consumers and their tally friendly steps to ameliorate environmental problems. Not- perception of certification importance (Importance), involvement withstanding a low level of environmental awareness, they also in certification (Involvement) and their WTP premium for envi- report a high level of environmental concern and behaviour, are ronmentally certified clothing. All scales were adapted from willing to buy eco-products but feel constrained in their efforts Vlosky et al. (1999). The scales were administered in the form of because of a dearth of such products in the market (Jain and Kaur, Strongly Agree-Strongly Disagree five-point Likert Scales. Since 2004). Jain and Kaur (2004) have also identified high environmen- multi-item scales used in the study have been tested earlier for tal concern among Indians but did not look into specific environ- validity and reliability, for the present study, only the reliability of mentally responsible behaviour. In a later study Jain and Kaur the scales were checked with Cronbach’s alpha scores as Vlosky (2006) emphasized on the usefulness of socio-demographics in et al. (1999) had previously conducted the study in a different predicting the EC of Indian consumers but did not cluster green cultural climate. Table 1 details the scales used in the study consumers or profile them. Chitra (2007) examined the awareness, with Cronbach’s alpha scores of the present study shown in knowledge, preference and attitude of Indian consumers towards parentheses. eco-friendly wood products, cosmetics, medicines and furniture Additionally, demographic details of the respondents were also and segmented consumers into avoiders, adjusters, aspirants and recorded. The demographic details of the sample are provided in addicts with majority of customers classified as aspirants. Appendix 1. A total of 500 questionnaires were distributed – of However, no previous study has analysed the relationship between which 20 had to be rejected for incomplete data. Hence the total environmental awareness and various types of environmentally sample size for the study was 480. The questionnaires were admin- friendly behaviours. In this paper an attempt is made to discern istered by five interviewers between January and March 2007. To environment-friendly purchase behaviour of clothing. test H1, the items of the scales were averaged to arrive at the scores Besides, different environmentally responsible products require for EC, Importance, Involvement and WTP. The averaged items individual investigation as each specific behavioural pattern has were submitted for cluster analysis. Euclidean measure of distance its own cluster of predictors (Balderjahn, 1988). Additionally, was used as it is the most commonly used measure (Malhotra, predictors of environmentally conscious consumer behaviour also 2007). Hierarchical clustering using Ward’s method was used for change over time, and ecologically conscious consumers of the the purpose of clustering. Next, step-wise multiple discriminant 1990s differ from their predecessors (Roberts, 1996). Mass mar- analysis was done to ascertain the facets that discriminated most keting is no longer feasible in business today as consumers differ between the different clusters. Crosstabs and chi-square test of 440 International Journal of Consumer Studies 32 (2008) 438–446 © The Author Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  4. 4. P. Goswami Clothing with eco-labels in India Table 1 Scales used in the study Table 2 Structure matrix Environmental consciousness (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.546) Function I believe that environmental information on product label is 1 2 important I generally believe in the environmental information on product Involvement 0.705 -0.588 label EC 0.478 0.166 I understand the concept of environmental certification Importance 0.576 0.794 I believe there is a lot that individuals can do to improve the Pooled within-groups correlations between discriminating variables and environment standardized canonical discriminant functions. Variables ordered by I believe there is a lot that corporations can do to improve the absolute size of correlation within function. environment Importance of certification (Importance) (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.546) I believe that there is a need for environmental certification of the harvesting of Indian forests Table 3 Functions at group centroids I believe environmental certification can reduce tropical Function deforestation Involvement in certification (Involvement) (dropped one variable, Segment 1 2 Cronbach’s alpha = 0.539) 1 -7.003E-02 -0.652 If available, I would seek out environmentally certified clothes 2 1.836 1.060 Whenever possible, I buy products which I consider 3 -1.986 1.301 environmentally safe Willingness to pay (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.818) Unstandardized canonical discriminant functions evaluated at group I would pay more for environmentally friendly products means. I would pay a premium for certified clothing I am ready to pay more for certified eco-friendly products out cross-validation option, 94.8% of the cases was correctly clas- sified. A combined analysis of the structure matrix and the group centroids revealed the discriminating features among the three association was also carried out between the clusters and demo- segments of customers (See Tables 2 and 3). graphic variables to determine the nature of the clusters. To test This together with cross-tabulation with chi-square test of asso- H2, the mean WTP more scores were calculated for the different ciation between the segments and demographic details revealed segments and a one-way ANOVA was conducted to assess whether the nature of the segments. Chi-square test of association between the mean score was different for each of the segments. The depen- demographic variables and the segments showed that community, dent variable was WTP more score and the independent variables gender, religion, education, occupation were associated signifi- were the psychographic variables on the basis of which the five cantly with membership of segments at 0.032, 0.027, 0.020, 0.002, segments or groups had been derived. Post hoc Scheffe test, which 0.008 levels of significance respectively. However, income and is deemed to be the most conservative method for detecting Type 1 socio-economic classification were not significantly associated error, was used to identify homogenous subsets of groups of with membership of the segments at 0.093 and 0.204 levels of respondents. significance respectively. The analysis identified the following segments: Segment 1 Light Green Apparel Consumers (64.2%) were 4. Analysis slightly negative on EC and involvement in certification; negative Cronbach’s alpha scores of the different scales suggested that one on importance of certification; more likely to be Bihari; propor- variable needed to be dropped in the involvement in certification tionately more males than females (70% males, 30% females). scale to have an acceptable score of reliability. For the purpose of Segment 2 Dark Green Apparel Consumers (19.8%) were posi- analysis, a suitable modification was therefore made to this scale. tive on EC and involvement in certification, positive on importance To test H1, hierarchical clustering of EC, importance of certifica- of certification; more likely to be Bengali/Gujrati; 42% females tion and involvement in certification scores of the respondents was and 58% males, 52% are post-graduate professionals, more likely done with a Euclidean measure of distance using Ward’s method. to be self-employed professionals. Two-five cluster solutions were checked and it was found that the Segment 3 Non-Green Apparel Consumers (16%) were highly three-cluster solution gave the best result as far as interpretability negative on EC and involvement in certification, positive on was concerned. Step-wise multiple discriminant analysis was then importance of certification; proportionately more males (77%) carried out to identify the extent of difference between the three than females (23%), proportionately more Muslims and Sikhs in clusters. It yielded two significant functions. The first discriminant this segment compared with the other two segments. function explains 0.7532 or 57% of variance. The second discrimi- Hence, H1 is supported. nant function explains [(1–0.57) 0.662] or 19% of variance. Hence To test H2, mean WTP more score was calculated for the dif- the two discriminant functions together explain 76% of variance. ferent segments and a one-way ANOVA was conducted to judge An examination of the classification function revealed that 95% of whether the mean WTP scores are the same across all three original grouped cases was correctly classified. With leave-one- segments. The dependent variable was the WTP score and the International Journal of Consumer Studies 32 (2008) 438–446 © The Author 441 Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  5. 5. Clothing with eco-labels in India P. Goswami Table 4 Willingness to pay more across segments negative EC and WTP scores in Segment 3 so that attempts could be made to change their perceptions. Segment Mean n SD It is not easy to increase the purchase of environment-friendly 1 3.49 308 0.764 clothing. This is because clothing does not at all have a stable 2 3.95 95 0.599 perception profile among consumers in the effort (compromise)- 3 3.22 77 0.733 difference (confidence) dimension of Peattie’s (1999) green Total 3.54 480 0.763 purchase perception matrix (McDonald and Oates, 2006). This implies that consumers neither find it easy to make such purchase nor understand whether it makes a difference to the environment thereby posing significant problem for marketers wishing to raise Table 5 ANOVA results with willingness to pay as the dependent sale of such products. In such a difficult situation, eco-labels may variable assure the consumers about making the right choice and help Sum of Mean increase demand for eco-friendly clothing with clear information squares d.f. square F Sig. communication on labels. Again as pointed out by Shaw and Clarke (1998), although some issues like environmental destruc- Between groups 25.053 2 12.526 23.556 0.000 tion are genuinely global in nature, variations in concern exist Within groups 253.655 477 0.532 between different consumer cultures and the growing ethical con- Total 278.707 479 cerns among consumers is not a uniform trend (Homma, 1991). To cite an example, a recent study on Australian consumers found evidence to suggest that customers expect all products to be environment-friendly and are less likely to compromise on product independent variables were the psychographic variables (EC, quality than on the somewhat higher prices of green products thus Involvement, Importance) on the basis of which the three seg- suggesting that there exists market for higher quality green prod- ments or groups had been derived. The ANOVA results clearly ucts with premium pricing or products with quality similar to demonstrated that the mean WTP scores are different for the three competitors at lower prices (D’Souza et al., 2007b). In order to segments as the probability associated with the value of F is 0.000, come up with quality green products at lower prices there is a need that is, less than the significance level of 0.05 (See Tables 4 and 5). to evolve lower cost-based technology. Again, green consuming The post hoc conservative Scheffe test results reveal that cannot be viewed in isolation and is related to other ethical issues homogenous subsets of segments exist for eco-labelled garments. of concern to consumers (Connolly and Shaw, 2006). Ethical Thus, H2 is supported. consumers have been found to be dissatisfied with the style of ethically produced clothing garments (Shaw and Tomolillo, 2004) and are also calling for fashionable ethical products to be available 5. Discussion and conclusions on the High Street so that they are convenient and easy to access, The results of the study suggest that there are three segments of thus suggesting a potential way forward for ethical manufacturers consumers of which Segment 2 Dark Green Apparel Consumers to avoid becoming a niche product and instead becoming more appear ready and willing to adopt eco-labelled clothing. Not sur- mainstream (Shaw et al., 2006). It has also been argued that the prisingly, Segment 2 also has the highest mean score of 3.95 on a price difference between textiles with and without eco-label in scale of 5 among the three segments for WTP implying the highest certain cases are almost non-existent, and environment-friendly WTP more for eco-labelled clothing as an obvious consequence of textiles are therefore not always more expensive (Pedersen and high EC, and perceived importance and involvement in certifica- Neergaard, 2006). Indian marketers may take cue from this and tion. They may be reached through media targeting specially self- may develop both high-quality high-price products (for Segment 2 employed and post-graduate professionals and being preferred by Dark Green Apparel Consumers for example) as well as quality both females (comprising 42% of the sample) and males (com- products comparable to competitors with lower prices (say, for prising remaining 58% of the sample). The other two segments do Segment 1 Light Green Apparel Consumers in the future) to suit- not appear to be immediately ready for clothing with eco-labels. ably tap appropriate segments. Again, on comparing the results of Segment 1 Light Green Apparel Consumers, are slightly negative the current study with the UNCTAD study on German consumers on EC and Involvement, and comprises a sizable proportion of (UNCTAD Analytical Studies on Trade, Environment and Devel- 64% of the sample and hence if their EC is increased with appro- opment, 1999) it is noted that around 5–15% of German con- priate communications targeted at the Hindi-speaking male sumers are ‘deep green’ and may pay a slightly higher price for population, there is a possibility of subsequent increase in their environmentally sound goods as compared with around 20% urban Involvement and Importance score. This would improve their Indians revealed by this study; another 50% of Germans will buy acceptance of eco-labelled clothing. Since their WTP more for eco-products if it is made easy through clear labelling and are not eco-labelled clothing is also a moderately high score of 3.49 on a more expensive than alternatives, and this is not directly compa- scale of 5, this group should be targeted after Segment 2 Dark rable to the Segment 1 Light Green urban Indian apparel consum- Green Apparel Consumers are targeted and saturated. Segment 3 ers identified in this study as the Indians have moderately high Non-Green Apparel Consumers should not be targeted as they WTP scores; and around 40% of German consumers will never would be difficult to convince with highly negative EC and use eco-friendliness as a criteria in their purchasing decision as Involvement scores and very low WTP score. There is scope against comparable 16% Non-Green Indian apparel consumers. however, for further research to identify the reasons for the very One might, however, argue that the German study was reported in 442 International Journal of Consumer Studies 32 (2008) 438–446 © The Author Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  6. 6. P. Goswami Clothing with eco-labels in India 1999 corresponding to the present study in 2007, and hence is not specially targeting self-employed and post-graduate professionals directly comparable. Pedersen and Neergaard (2006) cautioned and being preferred by both females and males. The implication is against the overall tendency to draw simplified conclusions about that Segment 2, which offers the highest potential number of con- the ‘green’ segment and pointed out that while some consumers sumers’ interested in adopting eco-labelled clothing and who might act consistently when it comes to transforming their values possess the highest WTP premium for such products should be and attitudes into everyday decision making, they are not easy to targeted by marketers already producing environment-friendly identify as a group with stable preferences and for the rest of the clothing for both the domestic as well as the export market. Some consumers, the willingness to buy environmentally labelled prod- companies like Reliance Industries Ltd. have already started using ucts is complex and affected by a number of internal and external such fabric for the home market with their ‘Vimal’ brand (Mehta, influences and constraints. However, since Segment 2 Dark Green 2008). Such efforts could generate subsequent consumer ‘pull’ in Apparel Consumers of our study, which is ready and willing to the market for more of these products from other manufacturers. adopt eco-labelled clothing, has been clearly profiled and can be Demand may therefore be generated by consumers for eco- identified and targeted, this group may act as opinion leaders for friendly clothing, forcing manufacturers who are currently not the other two groups, notably Segment 1 Light Green Apparel involved in manufacturing/producing textiles made from eco- Consumers in the future. friendly fabrics to reconsider their use as there may be sufficient The limitation of the present study is that metros and non-metro market demand for such products. cities of the southern part of India have not been covered. Although Mumbai (in west India and deemed to be the financial Acknowledgements capital of the country) and Kolkata (large eastern metro) are metro cities with a cosmopolitan population, the non-metros in the I thank Dr Richard Blackburn and Parikshit Goswami of the Green sample are in the eastern part of India and consequently southern, Chemistry Department of Leeds University, UK, for suggesting northern or western non-metros are likely to exhibit difference in the study. I am grateful to my students Debolina, Shruti, Patrali, consumer behaviour. Suman and Pradipta who have helped collect the data for the study. In future, studies may be conducted on intergenerational cohorts I would also like to express my gratitude to the two anonymous in the line of the research conducted by Littrell et al. (2005). referees whose constructive comments have benefited me Studies may also be taken up in the future to cover other major immensely. metros like Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai and non- metros of the western, southern and northern India. The scope for References eco-labelled products in food and beverages is another area where research needs to be undertaken given that the highest amount of Allwood, J.M., Laursen, S.E., Rodríguez, C.M. & Bocken, N.M.P. an estimated 42% of average Indian household consumption is (2006) Well dressed? The present and future sustainability of clothing accounted for by this category (Marketing Whitebook, 2007– and textiles in the United Kingdom. University of Cambridge 2008). Institute for Manufacturing. [WWW document]. URL http://www. (accessed on 28 February 2008). Balderjahn, I. (1988) Personality variables and environmental attitudes 6. Managerial implications as predictors of ecologically responsible consumption patterns. Journal of Business Research, 17, 51–56. Given India’s rapid GDP growth rate and the highly negative Burns, A. (2008) Global economic prospectus 2008. World Bank Report environmental impact of the country’s textile industry, demand for as quoted in Deccan Herald, Issue January 13, [WWW document]. eco-labelled clothing may create the necessary consumer pressure URL to ensure a cleaner environment. Environmental responsiveness business2008011246287.asp (accessed on 28 February 2008). may tilt opinion in favour of a high-involvement product like Carson, P. & Moulden, J. (1991) Green Is Gold: Business Talking to clothing when other factors like quality, price, service etc. of a Business about the Environmental Revolution. Harper Business, product are better than, or equal to, the competition (Pujari and Toronto. (2008) Öko-Tex – textiles and human ecology. [WWW Wright, 1996). Differentiating a company on an environmental document]. 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  9. 9. Clothing with eco-labels in India P. Goswami Appendix 1 Demographic details of the sample (in percentages) Assamese Baniya Bengali Gujrati Jat Community 3.7 0.2 54.3 2.5 0.4 Bihari Kayastha Malayali Marathi Oriya 13.3 0.2 1.2 0.8 2.7 Marwari Punjabi Rajput Sindhi Tamil 12.7 5.8 0.2 0.4 1.4 Graduate Graduate Professional HSC Education 20.4 27.4 0.2 Some College but Not Graduate Post-graduate 0.6 17.7 Post-graduate Professional SSC 33.5 0.2 High Medium Low Income 83.2 15.6 1.2 Male Female Gender 68.4 31.6 Christian Hindu Jain Muslim Sikh Religion 0.8 95.2 0.2 1.9 1.9 A1 A2 B1 B2 C Socio-economic Classification 59.6 35.3 3.1 1.5 0.4 Businessmen with 1–9 employees Businessmen with 10+ employees Occupation 3.3 2.9 Businessmen with no employees Clerical Executives (Junior) 5.6 0.4 18.9 Executives (Senior) Industrialists with 1–9 employees Salesman 20.4 0.2 2.5 Industrialists with 10+ employees Officers (Junior) Shop-owners 0.6 7.7 2.7 Officers (Senior) Petty Traders Self-employed Professionals 16.6 0.6 16.4 Skilled Workers Unskilled Workers 0.6 0.2 Notes: 1. Community-based population data is not available. Pursuant of the policy of the Government of India to discourage community distinction based on Caste, the 1951 Census of India marked a complete departure from the traditional recording of Race, Tribe or Caste and the only relevant question on caste or tribe incorporated in the Census Schedule was to enquire if the person enumerated was a member of any ‘Scheduled Caste’, or any ‘Scheduled Tribe’ or any other ‘Backward class’ or if he was an ‘Anglo Indian’. Source: 2. At the census of 2001, out of the 1028 million Indian population 80.5% of the population have returned themselves as followers of Hindu religion, 13.4% as Muslims or the followers of Islam, 2.3% as Christians, 1.9% as Sikh, 0.80% as Buddhists and 0.4% are Jain. In addition, over 6 million have reported professing other religions and faiths including tribal religions, different from six main religions. Source: 3. Percentage of Indian Urban households by Income class: High = 13, Medium = 66, Low = 21, Percentage of Indian Urban Consumption by Income class: High = 37, Medium = 55, Low = 7. Percentage of population in a specific Socio-Economic Classification: A1 = 1.1, A2 = 2, B1 = 2.5, B2 = 2.5, C = 6.2, D = 7.2, E1 = 3.5, E2 = 5.7. Percentage of Indian Population in a specific Education level: Illiterate = 34, Literate but no formal schooling = 2, Some School = 41, SSC = 15.7, Some College but not graduate 2.1, Graduate = 3.9, Graduate Professional = 0.4, Post-graduate = 0.8. Source: Marketing Whitebook 2007–2008, Businessworld Publication. 446 International Journal of Consumer Studies 32 (2008) 438–446 © The Author Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd