The rise of competition in the fashion industry has called for companies to differentiate themselves. One way of differentiation that has been seen in recent years is an increase in sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. This paper explores the use of press releases by fashion companies to see if the releases impact the companies’ bottom line. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if sustainability related press releases impact consumers in the United States decision making in purchasing products or supporting certain brands or companies. To conduct this study, yearly and quarterly financial data was collected to find trends within a company’s revenue, as well as data on press releases that advertise the company’s sustainability efforts. These two data sources were connected to then analyze if environmental press releases impacted the company’s bottom line. To connect this information to the real world, two case studies were conducted: H&M, a well-known fast fashion company, and Levi’s, a tried-and-true sustainable denim company. As these companies were different sizes, the percent change formula was applied between years and quarters to ensure that the data was not skewed by historically higher or lower revenues. In analyzing the data, results indicated that years with sustainability related press releases resulted in a 2.89% higher percent change than total average percent change between yearly revenue, and a 4.81% higher percent change than total average quarterly percent change between quarters. This provided evidence that press releases that include the company’s promise to act sustainably impacted consumer decisions and in turn created more profits in the quarter and year the press release was published, overall benefitting the company’s bottom line.
Paper prepared for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar/Geography Capstone.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Todd Lookingbill
Copyright © 2020, University of Richmond.
Zhang, Allison. "Sustainability in the Fashion Industry: Two Case Studies Highlighting Consumer Purchasing Actions Related to Brand Sustainability." Paper for Environmental Studies Senior Seminar/Geography Capstone, University of Richmond, December 2020.