Adoption of Eco-Friendly
Faux Leather: Examining
Consumer Attitude With
, JiYoung Kim
Kyung Wha Oh
, and Hye Jung Jung
Eco-Friendly Faux Leather (EFFL) has recently been developed to minimize harmful environmental
impacts; this product also has a low carbon footprint. However, consumers are lagging behind in
eco-friendly product adoption due to their value, belief, and attitude gaps. To provide the best
available social-psychological account of consumers’ adoption of EFFL products, the consumer
attitude model was tested as an extension of the Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) framework. Online
survey panel data were collected on 602 respondents from U.S. and U.K. Structural Equation
Modeling and Multiple Group Analysis were employed to test the hypothesized attitude model. The
findings support the conclusion that there is significant causality among environmental value, pro-
environmental belief, and the norm of individual responsibility, but no difference regarding the VBN
concurrence was found between the two countries. Practical implications and theoretical sugges-
tions for understanding consumer attitude towards a new eco-friendly product are proposed.
eco-friendly textile product, environmental value, proenvironmental belief, social norms, VBN
The effort toward enhancing the functionality of eco-friendly textile products has long been under-
way in the clothing and textiles (C&T) field. Eco-friendly faux leather (EFFL) has been developed in
recent years, following the inventions of bio-based polyurethane and nanocellulose (Jung, Kim, &
Oh, 2014). Genuine leather is considered to be a heavily polluting substance due to the use of
College of Merchandising, Hospitality, & Tourism, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA
Department of Fashion Design, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea
Kyung Wha Oh, Department of Fashion Design, Chung-Ang University, 84 Heukseokro Dongjakgu, Seoul 156756,
Clothing and Textiles
2016, Vol. 34(4) 239-256
ªThe Author(s) 2016
Reprints and permission:
harmful chemicals in the tanning and finishing process, yet faux leather products also raise environ-
mental concerns due to their nonbiodegradability and the production of toxic gases when they burn
(Jung et al., 2014). However, EFFL, a biodegradable leather textile, has minimal harmful impacts on
the environment and enhanced functionality and disposability while costing less than natural leather.
The practices of bringing together raw materials and transporting finished products with limited
harm to the environment are of interest to the society, the environment, and the businesses (Ha-
Brookshire & Hawley, 2014). From an environmental viewpoint, a reduction in the harmful effects
of consumption is essential for meeting the sustainability goals put forth by the international
community and to personal and collective well-being (Jackson, 2005). The C&T field has engaged
in environmental initiatives in order to build markets for eco-friendly products (Gam, Cao, Farr, &
Kang, 2010; Peterson, Hustvedt, & Chen, 2012) by encouraging positive consumer attitudes toward
these products (Sonnenberg, Jacobs, & Momberg, 2014). However, previous researchers have
shown that the adoption of products by consumers has been slow due to the limited functionality
and high cost of organic fabric, recycled materials, and eco-friendly production methods (Jackson,
2005; Lee, Kim, & Yang, 2015).
When consumers consider the adoption of eco-friendly products, they may engage in a compound
decision-making process due to the complexity inherent in this kind of consumption (Moisander,
2007). The sociopsychological approach to proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors is effective in
accounting for the multifaceted eco-friendly consumption movements and public support for such
movements (Stern, Dietz, Abel, Guagnano, & Kalof, 1999). According to value–belief–norm (VBN)
theory (Stern et al., 1999), environmental concerns and ethical issues are socially constructed (Stern,
Dietz, Kalof, & Guagnano, 1995) in terms of the chain of values, beliefs, and norms. Although VBN
theory explicates the systemic process of building consumer adoptive attitude, the links among
consumers’ values, beliefs, and behaviors have proven to not be straightforward (Kim, Lee, & Hur,
2012) and have been tested in the C&T discipline only to a limited extent. In a recent study, Ma and
Lee (2012) have deepened our understanding of personal values related to fair trade product cam-
paigns, yet knowledge and understanding of the collective adoption of eco-friendly products coupled
with the availability of such products are still limited. The incompleteness of our understanding of
consumer attitudes toward eco-friendly products (Jansson, 2011) implies a limit to our understand-
ing of the consumer factors driving and hindering the diffusion of EFFL. In order to identify the
barriers that keep customers from engaging in EFFL adoption, research on consumer attitudes in
conjunction with business accountability should be conducted in order to find ways to bring down
those barriers (Gaskill-Fox, Hyllegard, & Ogle, 2014).
Given the newly developed EFFL products, an accounting of what determines support for EFFL
and a proposal for how to develop and evaluate interventions to change consumers’ attitudes toward
eco-friendly products must be put forward for practical application and theoretical validation within
the C&T field. Therefore, the purposes of this study are (a) to test the effects of personal values,
beliefs, and norms in terms of the VBN framework; (b) to examine the influence of the VBN process
on consumer attitudes toward EFFL products; and (c) to investigate the moderating effect of country
in relation to the hypothesized model.
The VBN Framework
Consumer attitudes toward eco-friendly consumption have been extensively studied in social psy-
chology research drawing on theories such as the norm activation theory (Schwartz, 1977), the
normative conduct theory (Cialdini, Reno, & Kallgren,1990), the VBN theory (Stern et al.,
1999), the theory of responsibility (Fischer & Ravizza, 1993), and the attitude–behavior–context
240 Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 34(4)
theory (Stern, 2000). Drawing on the notions of value and norm-activation processes from the social
movement perspective, Stern (2000) proposed the VBN theory, which presents an account of the
antecedents of social movement support and individual environmentalism. The causal chain moves
from central elements of value to the belief structure of human–environment relations and proenvir-
onmental belief, and finally to the activation of a sense of moral obligation. According to the theory,
the environmental movement is based on the dispositional elements of personal values and beliefs
yet is further shaped through other normative influences that lead to positive attitudes toward
committed participation (Stern et al., 1999). These normative influences include a personal concep-
tion of the entity responsible for sustainable development, whether it be the individual, government,
or business (Stern et al., 1999).
Consumption is embedded in relationships of obligation, and an individual makes decisions as a
member of households, families, social networks, and communities. Individuals’ acceptance of
product is placed in the mixed circumference between the situational sociodemographic circum-
stance and their psychological tensions arising from competing values (Barr & Gilg, 2006), and this
often results in a complex mix of attitudes. As individuals seek ethical alternatives, other social and
economic values impact their behaviors such that positive sustainable practice choices are not
always made (Szmigin, Carrigan, & McEachern, 2009).
According to Rokeach (1973), values are conceptualized as important life goals or standards that
serve as guiding principles in a person’s life. Values are distinct from attitudes or beliefs because
they function as an organized system and are typically viewed as the determinants of attitudes
and behaviors (Olson & Zanna, 1993). Expanding on Rokeach’s (1973) seminal work on the
structure of values, Schwartz (1994) presented a theory that substantiated the notion of universal
human value by providing a typology of value and value-clusters arrayed in particular relation-
ships to each other. For instance, the value cluster of self-transcendence consists of ‘‘universal-
ism’’ and ‘‘benevolence,’’ which entail concerns for the welfare and interests of others; the value
cluster of self-enhancement represents ‘‘power’’ and ‘‘achievement,’’ which are related to self-
interest; and the value cluster of openness to change denotes ‘‘self-direction’’ and ‘‘stimulation,’’
emphasizing independent action, thought, feeling, and readiness for new experiences (Davidov,
Schmidt, & Schwartz, 2008). Drawing on Schwartz’s value theory, Stern, Dietz, Kalof, and
Guagnano (1995) and Stern, Dietz, Abel, Guagnano, and Kalof (1999) have specified a subset
of altruistic, egoistic, traditional, and openness-to-change value clusters associated with environ-
mental attitudes and proenvironmental behavior. In the current study, we adapted Stern et al.’s
(1999) four value clusters and added an environmental value from Jung, Kim, and Oh’s (2014)
study focusing on attitudes toward EFFL.
Altruistic value. The term ‘‘altruistic value’’ refers to moral imperatives (Stern et al., 1999), which are
conceptualized as a basis for environmental attitudes (Schwartz, 1994). People with altruistic values
strive to bring about benefits for humans as well as other species by becoming supporters of
companies that engage in sustainable practices (Stern et al., 1995). Consumers with altruistic values
have positive proenvironmental beliefs and are in favor of environmental actions because they hold
values that emphasize community more than personal wealth (Barr & Gilg, 2006). Greater evidence
of sustainable practices is revealed among people with altruistic rather than competitive social value
orientations (Van Vugt & Samuelson, 1999). These individuals might engage in such practices as
donating clothes for recycling, purchasing products for charity, and shopping at particular stores that
are environmentally friendly or socially responsible (Jung et al., 2014).
Kim et al. 241
Achievement value. The term ‘‘achievement value’’ refers to individuals’ expectance of success and
perceptions of their ability in performing tasks. When influenced by achievement value, consumers
favor environmentally harmless and green products due to their self-interest or social interest
(Davidov et al., 2008). Consumers with achievement value have an environmentally friendly belief
when the perceived benefits of acting according to that value exceed the perceived costs.
Social power value. Social power value is characteristic of committed environmentalists who empha-
size social unity more than personal wealth (Barr & Gilg, 2006). The choice between acting in
accordance with one’s self-interest and acting in the interest of the collective has often been
described as a social dilemma. Vining and Ebreo (1992) revealed that general environmental beliefs
(as measured by the New Environmental Paradigm) and specific environmental attitudes (as mea-
sured by constructs of the Schwartz moral norm model regarding recycling) became more common
over time among recyclers who restrain egoistic tendencies for the benefit of others.
Openness to change value. The term ‘‘openness to change value’’ denotes self-direction and stimula-
tion, with an emphasis on independent action, thought, feeling, and readiness for new experiences
(Davidov et al., 2008). In a conventional sense, openness to change value tends to emphasize the
private benefits accruing from social movements. However, the characteristics of self-direction
which are part of openness to change value give rise to self-regulating belief in choosing, creating,
and exploring sustainable practices. Also, stimulation is linked to the excitement and challenge
derived from the diversity and novelty of existence (Schwartz, 1994). Thus, attitude favorable to the
adoption of libertarian and human-potential innovations can be created based on openness to change
value (Stern et al., 1999).
Sense of belonging value. The term ‘‘sense of belonging value’’ refers to a sense of personal involve-
ment in a social system such that people feel themselves to be an indispensable and integral part of
the system. Sense of belonging is the perception that there are sincere relationships with others as
long-term, enduring, and deep emotional affiliations (Kamakura & Novak, 1992). The needs of
people with sense of belonging value can be fulfilled through interpersonal relationships (Kahle &
Kennedy, 1989), and the value is related to proenvironmental belief in that individuals will act on
behalf of the environment (Allen & Ferrand, 1999).
Environmental value. Environmental value has positive relationships with proenvironmental belief and
attitude, which place importance on a sustainable future (Fraj & Martinez, 2006). This value is consid-
ered as a conspicuous psychographic feature in the ecological consumer segment, which has prominent
progreen attitudes (Stern et al.,1995). Consumers withenvironmental values will be in favor of adopting
new habits consistent with an ecological outlook and respect for the environment (Jung et al., 2014).
Proenvironmental belief is a belief oriented toward a sustainable interaction with the environment
(Stern, 2000) and the collective good (Karp, 1996). When individuals become aware of an envi-
ronmental problem and this awareness resonates with their values, beliefs regarding the conse-
quences of action (or inaction) are formed. In this way, values and beliefs together have been
found to influence the acceptability of energy policies (Steg, Dreijerink, & Abrahamse, 2005),
household energy use (Poortinga, Steg, & Vlek, 2004), and conservation behavior (Kaiser, Hu
& Bogner, 2005). Several scholars have examined the relationships among values and beliefs, and
there is a consensus that proenvironmental belief is determined mainly by values (Gatersleben, Steg,
& Vlek, 2002; Nordlund & Garvill, 2002).
242 Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 34(4)
In the context of EFFL, we conceptualize proenvironmental belief as potentially existing in
relation to the impact genuine or faux leather can have on the environment. Genuine and faux
leather products have been considered heavily polluting substances due to the use of harmful
chemicals in their production processes, their nonbiodegradability, and the production of toxic
gases when they burn (Jung et al., 2014). As we are interested in studying the consumer decision
process in supporting EFFL, the following aspects of proenvironmental belief were included in the
operationalization of proenvironmental belief: beliefs about the risk of climate change, loss of
tropical forests, and toxic substances in the environment. Thus, the first group of hypotheses is
proposed as follows:
Hypothesis 1: Personal values positively affect proenvironmental belief.
Achievement (Hypothesis 1a), Altruistic (Hypothesis 1b), Environmental (Hypothesis 1c), Social
power (Hypothesis 1d), Openness to change (Hypothesis 1e), and Sense of belonging (Hypothesis
1f) values positively affect proenvironmental belief.
Norms are formed based on the personal value system and can be associated with decision heuristics
in making decisions (Biel & Thøgersen, 2007). Since social norms are a powerful mechanism in the
society and entail an expectation (Sjo¨stro¨m, 2010), they serve as standards of appropriate behavior
for social actors with a given identity in certain contexts. Thus, social norms are upheld by collective
expectations that exist in a social context where actors can pass judgment about appropriate behavior
(Sjo¨stro¨ m, 2010).
Considering the complexity of the environmental issue at hand, it is impossible to expect an
individual consumer or a segment of society to act as a responsible party. In normative conduct
theory (Cialdini et al., 1990), descriptive and injunctive norms are proposed in social contexts.
Descriptive norms are defined as what others do (the norms of is), while injunctive norms can be
described as what others think a person should do (the norms of ought). Interestingly, injunctive
norms determine behavioral intention because they act as social sanctions to perform a given
behavior (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). This role of injunctive norms can be supported from the theory
of responsibility perspective (Fischer & Ravizza, 1993) because social agents are morally respon-
sible if they are appropriate recipients of reactive attitudes.
While one element of moral responsibility is reactive attitudes toward the actions of coagents in a
moral community, another element is a critical reflection on these practices. Therefore, the collec-
tive expectations of the society for solving the environmental issue are placed upon multiple
stakeholders (Fahlquist, 2008; Fischer & Ravizza, 1993), including consumers, government, and
business. Some adopt the normative idea that each individual within the society is responsible for
protecting the environment, while others believe governments should be in the forefront of manag-
ing the proenvironmental program. Businesses are also often perceived as a main contributor to
environmental deterioration, which suggests they need to be responsible for helping to meet the
current environmental challenges. In the debate over the extent to which it is reasonable to hold
individuals and institutions responsible for environmental problems, there has been an increased
tendency to ascribe forward-looking responsibility to institutional agents (Fahlquist, 2008). If
responsibility is ascribed to governments and business, there is a better chance of creating a society
in an environmentally friendly way (Fahlquist, 2008). These institutional agents create reasonable
alternatives and opportunities for individuals to do what is right (Fahlquist, 2008).
In the context of proenvironmental value, Stern et al. (1999) suggested that environmental moral
norms could be activated by social and environmental belief. While norms are rooted in personal
Kim et al. 243
values, they are to some extent influenced by perceived social belief. A particular social belief
implies that people should adhere to a prescribed behavior, such as proenvironmental behavior in the
context of environmentalism (Thøgersen & Crompton, 2009). Therefore, we propose that each
proenvironmental movement’s ideology contains specific beliefs about consequences and respon-
sibilities that activate personal norms which in turn obligate individuals to support the movement’s
goals. Since we expect that proenvironmental belief positively affects social norms in the ascription
of responsibility, the following hypotheses are tested.
Hypothesis 2: Proenvironmental belief positively affects social norms in the ascription of
Proenvironmental belief positively affects ascription of responsibility to the individual (Hypoth-
esis 2a), government (Hypothesis 2b), and business (Hypothesis 2c).
Attitude Toward EFFL Products
Attitude represents a summary evaluation of a psychological object captured in such attribute
dimensions as good–bad, harmful–beneficial, pleasant–unpleasant, and likable–dislikable (Ajzen,
2001). While an attitude is an evaluation of an attitude object, contemporary perspectives on
attitudes also permit an individual to hold multiple attitudes toward the same object (Wood,
2000). According to VBN theory, the environmental movement is based on the dispositional ele-
ments of personal values and beliefs yet is further shaped through other normative influences that
lead to positive attitudes toward committed participation (Stern et al., 1999). While Stern (2000)
identifies four determinants of consumer eco-friendly behaviors including attitudinal factors, per-
sonal capabilities, habits or routines, and contextual forces, many environmental psychology
researchers have focused on attitudinal factors due to their utility in explaining eco-friendly behavior
across contexts and consumer groups (Jansson, 2011). Prior research on consumer attitudes also
supports the idea that attitudes toward a product are determined mainly by values, beliefs, and norms
(Gatersleben et al., 2002; Nordlund & Garvill, 2002); thus, this VBN concurrence can be a powerful
motivator and a predictor of attitudes (Vining & Ebreo, 1992) toward EFFL products.
Often, an individual’s environmental attitudes reflect a conflict between immediate individual inter-
ests and long-term collective interests related to the environment (Poortinga et al., 2004). When this
conflict is presented, environmental attitudes lean toward the collective good, an orientation distinguish-
ing it from self-interested behavior (Karp, 1996). Based on the normative conduct theory, Ohtomo and
Hirose (2007) suggested that attitudes in favor of recycling increase when people become aware of the
injunctive norm supporting the environmental practice. On the other hand, the literature on social
influence argues that descriptive norms play an important role in determining behavior because
people are influenced by proenvironmental attitudes in a social context (Biel & Thøgersen, 2007).
While the precise distinctions among the types of norms have been varied in the literature (Sheeran
& Orbell, 1999; White, Terry, & Hogg, 1994), both injunctive and descriptive norms have impli-
cations for the C&T field. Kim, Lee, and Hur (2012) suggested attitudinal eco-friendly behavior is
influenced by social norms including injunctive and descriptive norms. Therefore, the multifaceted
approach to norms (in particular, norms relating to ascription of individual, government, and
business responsibilities) could line up with the perspective distinguishing between descriptive and
injunctive norms in predicting consumer attitudes and behaviors (Cialdini et al., 1990).
Consumer attitudes toward eco-friendly products have been extensively studied in the C&T
discipline, and there has been a focus on consumer psychology and sustainability-related market-
ing claims. Diverse psychological antecedents including social norms and environmental concern
(Kim et al., 2012), motivations and perceived risks (Han & Chung, 2014), country of origin and
244 Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 34(4)
perceived price (Ha-Brookshire, 2012), and environmental and animal welfare claims (Peterson
et al., 2012) were investigated and found to have several significant impacts on consumer atti-
tudes, preferences, satisfactions, and intentions to purchase products. Given the paucity of
research conceptualizing such normative responsibility from a forward-looking perspective, we
suggest that the norms ascribing responsibility to various institutional agents, including groups of
individuals, governments, and corporations, would lead to positive attitudes toward EFFL prod-
ucts. Thus, the following hypotheses are tested:
Hypothesis 3: Social norms positively affect consumer attitudes toward EFFL products.
Social norms relating to ascription of responsibility to the individual (Hypothesis 3a), govern-
ment (Hypothesis 3b), and business (Hypothesis 3c) positively affect consumer attitudes toward
Moderating Effect of Country
The U.S. and U.K. markets are of interest in this respect, as the leadership and engagement in
environmental business practices in those markets have not been equivalent (Young, Hwang, Mcdo-
nald, & Oates, 2010). For instance, in 2008, nearly 30%of U.S. consumers subscribed to new global
issues of environmentalism, whereas 18%of U.K. consumers were willing and motivated to take
action on environmental issues (World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 2008). The
U.S. market generated approximately US$4 billion in sales of eco-friendly textile products in 2012,
an amount that has been deliberately increased through efforts made by businesses from less than
half a billion dollars a decade ago (Zheng & Chi, 2015). The U.K. green textile markets continue to
grow due to increased public environmental consciousness (Duckett, 2014). Thirty percent of U.K.
consumers are concerned about environmental issues (Young et al., 2010), but they struggle to
translate this concern into actual eco-friendly product purchasing (Hughner, McDonagh, Prothero,
Shultz, & Stanton, 2007). More than 70%of respondents in the United States are content to be eco-
friendly as long as it saves them money (‘‘Consumer Perspectives on ‘Green’ Apparel,’’ 2013).
Nearly 35%of U.K. consumers are willing to pay a premium price for clothing labeled as eco-
friendly (Duckett, 2014). With regard to consumer dynamics in the U.S. and U.K. markets, personal
values, beliefs, and social norms may exert diverse influences on their consumers’ attitudes toward
EFFL. Due to the mixed findings on differences in environmental concerns and behaviors between
these markets, the moderating effect of country is of interest. Given the growing interest in eco-
friendly product adoption from societies, industries, and consumers, comprehending these dynamics
can empower marketers and researchers to develop the practical application of EFFL products. Also,
business strategists and policy makers will gain knowledge from an increased understanding of the
forces driving and hindering the consumer adoption process. Thus, Hypothesis 4 is tested as follows:
Hypothesis 4: There is a moderating effect of country between U.S. and U.K. consumers in
the hypothesized relationships between value and belief.
Sampling and Data Collection
The marketability of EFFL in a leading eco-friendly market is of interest in developing a new product
using that material. Focusing on 2 countries, sampling was directed at the metropolitan areas of
Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles in the United States, and London in the United Kingdom.
Metropolitan residents experience higher levels of mass media exposure, education, and political
Kim et al. 245
messaging (Chatterjee, 2008) and may be taken as representative for purposes of conducting an online
survey and exploring a new product market (Lee, Jackson, Miller-Spillman, & Ferrell, 2015). Female
respondents were of interest in that they are more environmentally concerned (Iyer & Kashyap, 2007)
and have more advanced fashion interest and environmental awareness (Gam, 2009) than males. To
avoid the age bias, the sampling was purposed in a varied age range.
A total of 602 female respondents (305 from the United States and 297 from the United Kingdom)
were recruited by a professional online survey firm. Survey participants were informed that the
completion of the questionnaire was anonymous and voluntary. The attributes of EFFL were pro-
vided in the questionnaire to aid respondents in forming informed perceptions of the product and its
environmental impact. A preliminary analysis of the respondents’ demographics revealed that
49.8%of U.S. respondents and 45.5%of U.K. respondents were married. The majority of respon-
dents in both the United States (83.3%) and the United Kingdom (82.2%) had received education at
the undergraduate level or beyond, with nearly 60%of the sample from each country reporting a
graduate education. The respondents’ age varied from 20 s through 50 s.
A total of 33 items adopted from the studies of Stern et al. (1999) and Jung et al. (2014) were
employed to measure 5 personal values. Nine items for proenvironmental beliefs were adopted from
previous studies (Stern et al., 1999), and 9 items for social norms were adapted from Stern et al.’s
(1999) study. After the VBN perceptions had been measured, information regarding the product
attributes, environmental impacts of products, and the acronym EFFL was provided to assist parti-
cipants in their attitude discernment. The information on EFFL products in the survey related to their
biodegradability and to problems of animal abuse and environmental pollution involved in the
production of natural and man-made leather products, making reference to the website of People
for Ethical Treatment of Animals (http://www.peta.org), a nonprofit organization for animal wel-
fare. Four items for attitudes toward EFFL products (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) were included,
followed by demographic questions. Items within all constructs were measured using 7-point
Likert-type scales with ‘‘strongly disagree’’ (1) and ‘‘strongly agree’’ (7) as anchors.
Validating the Measurement Model
Anderson and Gerbing’s (1988) two-step approach of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was
employed to analyze the measurement model and test the hypotheses in LISREL 8.80 (2006) with
maximum likelihood estimation. The initial model with 11 latent constructs and 55 items yielded an
unsatisfactory fit with the data after the running of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), w
5,919.49, df ¼1,375, w
/df ¼4.31, RMR ¼0.067, IFI ¼0.97, NFI ¼0.96, CFI ¼0.97, RMSEA
¼0.082 [90%CI: 0.080, 0.084]. The model was respecified based on both statistical and content
considerations as suggested by Anderson and Gerbing (1988).
The CFA result of the respecified model yielded an acceptable fit after the deletion of seven
¼3,147.65, df ¼1,010, w
/df ¼3.11, Root Mean Residual (RMR) ¼0.053, Incre-
mental Fit Index (IFI) ¼0.98, Normed Fit Index (NFI) ¼0.97, Comparative Fit Index (CFI) ¼0.98,
Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) ¼0.063 [90%Confidence Interval (CI):
0.061, 0.066]. Convergent validity of the latent constructs in the model was established, based on
significant tvalues of each item’s estimated path coefficient on its posited latent construct (p< .001)
and composite reliability (CR) above .60. Average variance extracted (AVE) for all constructs
except for the openness to change construct was above .50 (Bagozzi & Yi, 1988; Table 1). Internal
reliability, indicated as Cronbach’s afor each of the five constructs, was higher than .7 (Table 1).
246 Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 34(4)
Table 1. Confirmatory Factor Analysis.
Personal Values Achievement (ACH), a¼.86, CR ¼.62, AVE ¼.57
I prefer to control others rather than to be a follower .64
I like to lead or command others .74
I am influential on people and events .86
Altruistic (ALT), a¼.85, CR ¼.86, AVE ¼.59
I respect equal opportunity for all .80
I value a world free of war and conflict .78
I like to correct injustice .78
I care for others who are weak and older .72
Environmental (ENV), a¼.95, CR ¼.94, AVE ¼.67
I respect the earth and nature .83
I believe it is important to harmonize with other species and nature .80
I prefer to fit into nature rather than control nature .77
I like to protect the environment .87
I anticipate preserving nature .87
I try to prevent pollution .84
I believe in protecting natural resources .86
I consider the balance of nature is delicate and easily upset .78
I think one of the most important reasons for conservation is to preserve wild areas .72
Social Power (SOC), a¼.82, CR ¼.77, AVE ¼.71
I am ambitious .80
I am capable to achieve many goals and desires .88
Openness to Change (OPN) a¼.81, CR ¼.82, AVE ¼.47
I respect diverse cultures and lifestyles .66
I like trying new things .66
I appreciate freedom .69
I like to create things .66
I encourage friends and relatives to do business with this retailer .74
Sense of Belonging (SEN), a¼.83, CR ¼.83, AVE ¼.56
I like to be independent .72
I tend to choose my own goals .75
I am committed .77
Pro-environmental Beliefs (PB), a¼.93, CR ¼.89, AVE ¼.59
Climate change will be a very serious problem for me and my family .75
Climate change will be a very serious problem for the country as a whole .80
Climate change will be a very serious problem for other species of plants and animals .82
Loss of tropical forests will be a very serious problem .67
Loss of tropical forests will be a very serious problem .77
Loss of tropical forests will be a very serious problem .80
Toxic substances in air, water, and the soil will be a very serious problem .76
Toxic substances in air, water, and the soil will be a very serious problem .78
Toxic substances in air, water, and the soil will be a very serious problem .77
Social Norms Individual Responsibility (INR), a¼.89, CR ¼.83, AVE ¼.73
I feel a personal obligation to do whatever I can to prevent climate change .88
I feel a sense of personal obligation to take action to stop the disposal of toxic substances in the air,
water, and soil
People like me should do whatever we can to prevent the loss of tropical forests .83
Government Responsibility (GOR), a¼.86, CR ¼.84, AVE ¼.67
The government should take stronger action to clean up toxic substances in the environment .74
The government should exert pressure internationally to preserve the tropical forests .83
The government should take strong action to reduce emissions and prevent global climate change .89
Kim et al. 247
Discriminant validity was established with the AVE estimate of each construct being greater than
the squared multiple correlation estimates between all possible pairs of constructs (Fornell &
Larcker, 1981). Through this initial analysis, discriminant validity was not demonstrated for open-
ness to change and altruistic value, openness to change and environmental value, and business
responsibility and government responsibility. Thus, further analysis was performed following
Anderson and Gerbing (1988). Discriminant validity was assessed by examining whether the con-
fidence interval (+2SE around the correlation coefficients) for any pair of the constructs in the
model included 1.0. If the CI does not include 1.0, it indicates the model supports discriminant
validity. None of the pairs included 1.0 in their CI, indicating the constructs were distinct from one
another. The measurements for all variables supported discriminant validity (Table 2).
Testing of Hypotheses
SEM was employed in order to test the hypothesized relationships. The result indicated an accep-
table fit of the hypothesized model to the data, w
¼3,411.16, df ¼1,037, w
/df ¼3.29, RMR ¼
0.066, IFI ¼0.98, NFI ¼0.97, CFI ¼0.98, RMSEA ¼0.066 [90%CI: 0.064, 0.068]. Environmental
value had a positive effect (b¼.86) on proenvironmental belief, supporting Hypothesis 1c. Proen-
vironmental belief influenced social norms (i.e., norms ascribing individual, government, and busi-
ness responsibility), supporting Hypothesis 2a (b¼.91), Hypothesis 2b (b¼.60), and Hypothesis 2c
(b¼.72). Individual responsibility affected attitudes, supporting Hypothesis 3a (b¼.47) (Figure 1).
The Moderating Effect of Country
In order to test the moderating effect of country, multiple group analysis of SEM was employed. To
examine whether the structural relationships differed across respondents from the 2 countries,
Hypotheses 2a–2c were included for multiple group analysis, as those paths yielded significant
results in SEM. The fit of the unconstrained model (free model) was assessed in Step 1. The indices
indicated an acceptable fit, w
¼5,397.89, df ¼2,163, w
/df ¼2.50, RMR ¼0.083, IFI ¼0.97, NFI
¼0.95, CFI ¼0.97, RMSEA ¼0.074 [90%CI: 0.072, 0.077]. In Step 2, the constrained model was
compared to the unconstrained model. The w
difference test yielded a significant result, Dw
129.28, Ddf ¼55, p¼.00, indicating that the constrained model was significantly worse than the
unconstrained model. In Step 3, all paths were constrained, one at a time, followed by comparison
with the unconstrained model. The w
difference test showed that none of the paths were
Table 1. (continued)
Business Responsibility (BUR), a¼.85, CR ¼.83, AVE ¼.67
Business and industry should reduce their emissions to help prevent climate change .85
Companies that import products from the tropics have a responsibility to prevent destruction of the
forests in those countries
The chemical industry should clean up the toxic waste products it has emitted into the environment .79
Attitude toward EFFL Product (ATT), a¼.92, CR ¼.87, AVE ¼.73
I would like to know about this product more .80
I have an interest in this product .86
This product is favorable to me .92
This product is trustworthy to me .83
Note.CR¼composite reliability; AVE ¼Average variance extracted.
Standard factor loading.
248 Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 34(4)
Table 2. Construct Correlation for Discriminant Validity.
Variable ACH ALT ENV SOC OPN SEN PB INR GOR BUR ATT
ALT .24 (.05)
ENV .27 (.04) [.19, .35] .74 (.02) [.70, .78]
SOC .62 (.04) [.54, .70] .41 (.04) [.33, .49] .39 (.04) [.31, .47]
OPN .48 (.04) [.40, .56] .76 (.03) [.70, .82] .72 (.03) [.66, .78] .66 (.03) [.60, .72]
SEN .40 (.05) [.30, .50] .72 (.03) [.66, .78] .61 (.03) [.55, .67] .70 (.03) [.64, .76] .70 (.02) [.76, .74]
PB .40 (.04) [.32, .48] .57 (.03) [.51, .63] .67 (.03) [.61, .73] .37 (.04) [.29, .45] .59 (.03) [.53, .65] .51 (.04) [.43, .59]
INR .30 (.04) [.22, .38] .49 (.04) [.41, .57] .77 (.03) [.71, .83] .31 (.04) [.23, .39] .52 (.04) [.44, .60] .41 (.04) [.33, .49] .73 (.02) [.69, .77]
GOR .14 (.05) [.04, .24] .52 (.04) [.44, .60] .66 (.03) [.60, .72] .19 (.05) [.09, .29] .50 (.04) [.42, .58] .43 (.04) [.35, .51] .77 (.02) [.73, .81] .71 (.03) [.65, .77]
BUR .12 (.05) [.02, .22] .61 (.03) [.55, .67] .70 (.03) [.64, .76] .20 (.05) [.10, .30] .57 (.04) [.49, .65] .49 (.04) [.41, .57] .77 (.02) [.73, .81] .75 (.02) [.71, .79] .96 (.01) [.94, .98]
ATT .32 (.04) [.24, .40] .42 (.04) [.32, .50] .58 (.03) [.52, .64] .26 (.04) [.18, .34] .45 (.04) [.37, .53] .33 (.05) [.23, .43] .55 (.03) [.49, .61] .66 (.03) [.60, .72] .52 (.03) [.46, .58] .53 (.04) [.45, .61]
Note. ACH ¼Personal Values Achievement; ALT ¼Altruistic; ENV ¼Environmental ; SOC ¼Social Power; OPN ¼Openness to Change; SEN ¼Sense of Belonging; PB ¼Pro-environmental
Beliefs ; INR ¼Individual Responsibility; GOR ¼Government Responsibility; BUR ¼Business Responsibility; ATT ¼Attitude toward EFFL Product.
significantly different between the U.S. and U.K. samples, leading to the rejection of the Hypothesis
4. Thus, there was no moderating role of country in the consumer attitude model.
Discussion and Implications
Using an innovative fabrication technique, EFFL has been newly developed as a green leather
alternative. Responding to the launch of EFFL in U.S. and U.K. markets, our purpose was to
examine consumer EFFL product adoption by integrating environmental sociopsychology
approaches with a set of factors driving and hindering consumer attitude. The VBN framework is
beneficial in connecting environmental values, proenvironmental beliefs, and social norms of indi-
vidual responsibility to attitudes toward the EFFL product. It is interesting to see no discrepancies
with regard to the VBN concurrence between the U.S. and U.K. markets in the early adoption stage
of EFFL diffusion.
First, environmental value significantly affects proenvironmental belief, while other personal
values—termed achievement, altruistic, social power, openness to change, and sense of belong-
ing—were found to be insignificant. This finding is consistent with Stern et al.’s (1995) proposi-
tion that environmentally conscious consumers with moral imperatives not only care for human
welfare but also extend their interests to environmental and biospheric issues (Stern et al., 1995).
Unpredictably, impacts of other personal values on proenvironmental belief were not supported.
These features are noticeable regarding the structure of relationships among different types of
value; values may be compatible and yet, on certain occasions, likely to come into conflict with
one another (Schwartz, 1994). Due to the early adoption of EFFL products or to a low level of
public awareness, consumers might relegate other values to the sphere of consumption dilemmas
or avoid the sources of dissonance (Szmigin et al., 2009). For example, the pursuit of achievement
Personal Value ‡ Pro-Environmental Belief ‡ Social Norm ‡ Attitude
NS: Not Supported
Figure 1. SEM results of the EFFL attitude model. SEM ¼structural equation modeling; EFFL ¼eco-friendly
250 Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 34(4)
may conflict with the pursuit of a sense of belonging; the seeking of personal success for oneself is
likely to run counter to the enhancing of others’ welfare (Schwartz, 1994). Therefore, EFFL
producers should promote awareness of the ecological attributes and benefits in order to show
how the products reduce the quantity of waste or prevent environmental harm, appealing to
consumers who have strong environmental value.
Second, while proenvironmental belief positively affects social norms regarding individual,
government, and business responsibility, only the norm for individual responsibility has an effect
on attitudes toward EFFL adoption. Because the causal VBN chain moves from central values to
beliefs relating to human–environment relations, it further facilitates a sense of individual obligation
that supports the social movement goals. Norms are central because a social movement is organized
around normative demands on individuals and social organizations to act on the movement’s
principles for specific reasons (Stern et al., 1999). From the conductive norm perspective, the norm
of ascription of individual responsibility is associated with injunctive norms. Kim et al. (2012)
suggested that an injunctive norm is a key determinant of eco-friendly behaviors (Minton & Rose,
1997) when partnered with an extrinsic claim. The individual consumer is often seen as not only
responsible for herself but also directly responsible for the world (Sassatelli, 2006). Socially con-
scious responsibility campaigns such as Pink and the Red Hat Society are good examples that appeal
to environmentally conscious consumers who seek benefits for humans by responding to claims of
individual responsibility. High-profile advocates in the C&T industry (e.g., U2’s Bono and Ali
Hewson’s Edun, Stella McCartney, and Noir) provide insights relevant to businesses regarding how
Table 3. Demographic Characteristics of the U.S. and U.K. Respondents.
U.S. U.K. Total
Frequency % Frequency % Frequency %
20–29 84 27.5 91 30.6 175 29.1
30–39 86 28.2 88 29.6 174 28.9
40–49 60 19.7 77 25.9 137 22.8
50–59 75 24.6 41 13.8 116 19.3
Married 152 49.8 135 45.5 287 47.7
Single 153 50.2 162 54.5 315 52.4
Highest educational level
Middle school 4 1.3 1 0.3 5 0.8
High school 47 15.4 55 18.5 102 16.9
Undergraduate 58 19.0 58 19.5 116 19.3
Graduate 182 59.7 176 59.3 358 59.5
Others 14 4.6 7 2.4 21 3.5
Awareness of EFFL products
Familiar with them 84 27.5 39 13.1 123 20.4
Have heard about them 135 45.6 132 44.4 271 45.0
Have no idea about them 82 26.9 126 42.4 208 34.6
Purchase experience of EFFL products
Yes 136 44.6 96 32.3 216 35.9
No 169 55.4 201 67.7 386 64.1
Previous purchase items of EFFL products
Fashion products 127 – 89 – 216 –
Home furnishing 56 – 43 – 99 –
Case cover (PC/cell phone) 44 – 25 –– 69 –
Note. EFFL ¼eco-friendly faux leather. – means more than 1 answer.
Kim et al. 251
the norm for individual responsibility raises social awareness by making eco-friendly claims (Jung
et al., 2014). Indeed, we suggest that businesses should make efforts toward developing social norms
of individual responsibility by encouraging consumers to embrace environmental value.
Third, although many scholars have assumed that consumers’ behaviors are determined by
culture, no market discrepancy was found between the U.S. and U.K. respondents. This finding is
parallel to those of other studies (Muncy & Vitell, 1992) that compared ethical fashion consumption
in Western countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany. In the preliminary analysis of
awareness of EFFL shown in Table 3, 26.9%of U.S. and 42.4%of U.K. respondents had never heard
about EFFL products; 41.6%of U.S. and 30%of U.K. respondents had purchased eco-friendly
fashion items recently. This implies that EFFL products are still positioned at the early adoption
stage in the 2 markets. Due to cultural, social, and economic similarity and to the early adoption
stage of EFFL product diffusion, U.S. and U.K. consumers might be expected to have a similar VBN
concurrence and similar attitudes toward EFFL products.
The increasing attention paid to proenvironmental concerns and consumption has motivated
scholars and marketers to formulate relevant academic ideas and develop industrial practices relat-
ing to the production of eco-friendly textile products. Promoting and marketing a new EFFL
product, taking into account a social movement perspective, is a worthwhile goal for U.S. and
U.K. marketers. For scholars, while this cross-cultural study enhances the recent understanding of
proenvironmental consumption behaviors in these 2 markets, the VBN framework raises questions
as to why other social values are not essential and why proenvironmental belief affects only social
norms relating to ascription of responsibility to the individual. Therefore, there are several metho-
dological and theoretical limitations to this study. First, the use of panel participants and of a highly
educated sample in the 2 countries might limit the generalization of our findings to other populations
or countries. In the future, scholars should broaden the VBN framework to include other types and
measures of values, beliefs, and norms within different market contexts. Second, the operational
constraint surrounding the idea of VBN constructs puts a limit on what might otherwise be a more
holistic approach to investigating support for EFFL. Third, we have manipulated only the adoptive
attitude toward EFFL products which limits the dynamic perspective on new product innovation.
Future research should investigate different types of products or agendas including social contribu-
tion, cause marketing, business model transparency, and ad campaigns. Finally, government respon-
sibility needs to be examined in order to devise effective social responsibility campaigns for winning
over the sustainability-oriented consumer market.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or pub-
lication of this article.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publica-
tion of this article: This research was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea: Project NRF No.
20110028966, NRF No. 2014R1A1A3049867.
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HaeJung Kim is a professor of the Department of Merchandising & Digital Retailing at University of
North Texas. Current research interests focus on consumer digital engagement in social media and
sustainable consumption of fashion products. Published papers in consumer, retailing, and marketing
journals including Journal of Business Ethics,andJournal of Business Research. Received CTRJ best
reviewer award in 2014.
Kim et al. 255
JiYoung Kim is an associate professor of the Department of Merchandising and Digital Retailing, University
of North Texas, and blends her passion for social responsibility, sustainability, and digital consumer behavior
into a research stream. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in sustainable apparel. Dr. Kim
holds the PhD in Consumer Science from The Ohio State University.
Kyung Wha Oh is a professor at the Department of Fashion Design at Chung-Ang University and editor-in-
chief of Fashion and Textiles. Recent research focus on the development of sustainable materials from bio-
based polyurethane and the socially responsible process of fabric production for the apparel and textile
Hye Jung Jung is an adjunct professor at the Department of Fashion Design at Chung-Ang University. Recent
research is concerned with the consumer psychology and behavior related to the apparel and textile industry,
including the sustainable consumption and the methodology and analysis of social big data.
256 Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 34(4)