Sustainable, organic clothing is the latest trend in the fashion industry, although these clothes cost more than their non-sustainable competition. So how are clothing producers supposed to entice customers to pay a higher price for sustainable garments?

One interesting study recently released by the University of Missouri revealed that the general public often views big brands in the fashion industry as unethical and dishonest. We’ve all heard before about garment industry scandals like child labor, environmental pollution, and workers in sweatshops. But researchers discovered that we are willing to pay more for sustainable garments in order to support an honest company that uses ethical practices.

The key word here is honesty. In order for a clothing brand to win a customer’s trust, they have to go the extra mile to prove that they are really using sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing methods.

The University of Missouri surveyed clothing customers to find out if they were willing to pay more for expensive brands that used ethical, sustainable manufacturing methods. Researchers found that consumers were willing to pay up to 20% more for these sustainable products. But consumers were still skeptical about using the label “sustainable” on clothing if a designer or manufacturer didn’t have the credibility to back up their claims.

So what is the conclusion? Customers are willing to support ethical businesses using sustainable practices, and they’re also willing to pay more for this type of clothing. But a business has to go the extra mile to win over the trust of their customers in order to get them to spend more money on sustainable clothing.

An easy solution? Consumers need to band together to demand regulation and certification for businesses that claim to use sustainable practices in manufacturing and in their materials. Since the clothing industry is one of the most globalized markets in the world, a number of countries may be involved in making a garment. This makes it difficult for consumers to know if all suppliers contributing to the materials and manufacturing of the clothing are trustworthy and ethical.

If a business wants to have any hope of gaining the trust of their customers, then they need to go the extra mile to use sustainable goods and ethical manufacturing methods – and they need to prove that their garments are sustainable in order to increase their credibility. This can be done through specialized care tags or point-of-purchase tags on a garment to verify that it was made with safe, sustainable methods.

Author: Bethany Ramos works at home full time as a freelance writer, and she also co-owns her own e-commerce website, The Coffee Bump.