Title: An exploratory study of sustainable apparel retailers on the internet

Authors: Katelyn Fulton; Seung-Eun Lee

Addresses: Central Michigan University, 215 Wightman, Mt. Pleasant, MI, 48859, USA. ' Central Michigan University, 215 Wightman, Mt. Pleasant, MI, 48859, USA

Abstract: The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify the general characteristics of online retailers selling sustainable apparel and examine their sustainability initiatives throughout the supply chain. Hart's (1995) natural resource-based view (N-RBV) was used in this study as a foundational framework. A content analysis of 156 websites revealed that many sustainable apparel retailers on the internet are small/family businesses offering their own private label merchandise. Garments sold on the websites were mostly women's and children's clothing and offered in a variety of colours and product categories. The majority of sustainable efforts were addressed in the fabric and manufacturing stages of the apparel supply chain by utilising garments made of organic materials and the absence of pesticides used in fibre growth. However, few websites addressed sustainability issues in design and production, transportation and logistics, store and warehouse efficiency or post-consumer and beyond.

Keywords: apparel retailers; internet; sustainability initiatives; websites; world wide web; sustainable apparel; online retailers; SCM; supply chain management; NRBV; natural-resource-based view; Stuart Hart; content analysis; family businesses; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; private label merchandise; garments; women's clothing; children's clothing; product categories; fabrics; manufacturing stages; organic materials; pesticides; fibre growth; design; production; transportation; logistics; store efficiency; warehouse efficiency; post-consumer stage; N-RBV; USA; United States; electronic marketing; e-marketing; electronic retailing; e-retailing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2012.051027

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2012 Vol.5 No.2, pp.95 - 109

Received: 07 Mar 2012
Accepted: 25 Jun 2012

Published online: 14 Dec 2012 *

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