Labelling The publication addresses the question of how online retailers use sustainability pledges to inform consumers about the sustainability of products. In a study, an large data set with sustainability information on almost 17,000 fashion products of the leading online retailers in Germany were examined. The results show that many fashion products are labelled as sustainable, with two-thirds of the products using their label and one-third using a label verified by a third party. Only 14 percent of labelled products have trustworthy, third-party verified sustainability labels. This low percentage makes it difficult for consumers to understand the scope of a product’s sustainability. Moreover, the heterogeneity of labels can confuse consumers and make them feel unsure.

The practical recommendations are given in the publication support policy initiatives that address the risk of greenwashing through uncertified and insufficient sustainability information.