University of Oulu

Consumer’s right to be informed : communicating sustainability issues through fashion marketing

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Author: Korhonen, Josefiina1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Pages: 95
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Korhonen, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-11
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Juga, Jari
Reviewer: Juga, Jari
Ulkuniemi, Pauliina


The purpose of this study is to explore fashion companies’ current marketing efforts in the context of sustainability. More specifically, this study is focusing on the level of leading and slow fashion companies’ sustainability communication and their possible socially responsible marketing strategies applied. A qualitative content analysis was conducted where the data was collected through the selected sets of samples of leading and slow fashion companies’ websites.

The theoretic framework for this study is based on the previous research about the level of sustainability communication and different socially responsible marketing strategies. Based on these studies, two coding schemes were formed. The first coding scheme includes the sustainability topics that can be identified in the fashion companies’ communication while the second coding scheme consists of the different sustainability messages communicated based on the socially responsible marketing approaches.

One of the main findings was that the current level of fashion companies’ sustainability communication is wide addressing several different sustainability issues. The difference found between the leading and slow fashion companies was in the nature of this communication. Another main finding was the differences in the socially responsible marketing messages; all slow fashion companies were promoting one of the socially responsible marketing messages while half of the leading fashion companies did not have any specific message included.

This study contributes to give an outlook in the current state of fashion companies’ sustainability communication. Additionally, some generalized differences between leading and slow fashion companies’ sustainability communication were identified. As for the managerial implications, the results of this study can be used especially by fashion marketers to identify their company’s level of sustainability communication. The results also indicate how different socially responsible marketing strategies can be applied in order to promote more sustainable consumption.

This study had some limitations. Since sustainability is a wide topic, it could have limited the possibility to construct a comprehensive coding schemes around the sustainability topics. Other factors that can be considered as limitations were using the websites as the unit of analysis and having only one researcher doing the coding for the content analysis. For the future research, more research efforts are needed to enable categorizing sustainability topics of fashion and to better identify different socially responsible marketing strategies.

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Copyright information: © Josefiina Korhonen, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.