To mark its 25th anniversary, the international Oeko-Tex Association has commissioned a worldwide market research study. The so-called “The Key to Confidence” study was to determine consumer attitudes towards “sustainability in textiles”. 11,000 consumers of clothing and home textiles were surveyed.

Oeko-Tex published the first results of the study as early as 2017 (Luna Journal reported). Further revealing details have now been published that show how consumers inform themselves about sustainability and how the information they obtain can influence their purchasing decisions.

Some companies use PR methods to present their company to the public in an environmentally friendly and responsible manner. The so-called “greenwashing” is intended to suggest to the customer that the purchased garment has been sustainably produced. For customers, this method does not make it easy to find companies that actually produce sustainably. The respondents of the “Key to Confidence” study consequently also stated that they would take a critical view of the presentation of a company with regard to sustainable production and question it.

Oeko-Tex study: Consumers inform themselves about sustainable brands

The sustainability study also showed that an increasing number of consumers are informing themselves about brands that correspond to their values before going on a shopping tour. This makes it easier for customers to buy and they know to what they need to pay attention to. Consumers are increasingly testing clothing, home textiles, trademarks and certification systems. They obtain their information via the internet, social media and classic media such as radio, print and TV.

Product information helps with purchasing decisions

In addition, a large proportion of respondents stated that they pay particular attention to the visible Information on the product or POS, for example through hang tags, information boards, packaging and labels. These would make the purchase decision particularly easier. This would allow consumers to decide right away whether the item meets their expectationns.

One millenial of the “Key to Confidence” study commented on the subject of “textile sustainability“: “Due to global warming and climate change, the world is heading for its ruin. We must therefore do everything possible to protect the environment. This means buying sustainable products, supporting the industry to produce environmentally friendly products and thinking of the workers in the production plants”.

Oeko-Tex gives advice on buying sustainable textiles

  • The Oeko-Tex Purchasing Guide supports the search for targeted companies and brands with Oeko-Tex certifications
  • Smartphone apps can be used to see where “Fair Fashion” can be purchased
  • informs about important labels
  • The “Fair Fashion” app provides clarity as to whether a product has been produced fairly or sustainably
  • Blogs on “Fair Fashion” also provide information (e.g. my-greenstyle)

Sustainable fabrics

When buying clothing, consumers can also stick to new materials that represent a sustainable alternative to fabrics used up to now

  • organic cotton
  • organic wool
  • hemp
  • organic silk
  • wild silk
  • Peace Silk
  • soy
  • bamboo
  • Lyocell/Tencel
  • Lenpur/ Viscose
  • Seacell
  • Tyvek
  • milk fibers

Organic cotton

By paying attention to seals and using organic cotton instead of conventionally produced cotton, consumers can make a contribution to protecting the environment. Conventional cotton is treated with pesticides and is often genetically modified. Toxic chemicals also endanger workers and the environment in the manufacturing process. The most important seals for organic cotton are:

  • GOTS
  • Quality Seal IVN
  • FairTrade Certified Cotton


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Image: iStock