Oeko-Tex survey reveals 66% consumers feel the actions of an individual can reverse climate change

Akhi Akter       
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The OEKO-TEX® Association, in commemoration of its 25th anniversary, revealed a global research study to assess consumer attitudes about textile sustainability titled ‘The Key to Confidence: Consumers and Textile Sustainability—Attitudes, Changing Behaviors, and Outlooks’, where 41 percent of consumers identified ‘climate change’ as the third priority concern over the other 16 concerning issues.  However, four in 10 consumers globally and half of those in non-production areas admit that they “Don’t know much about the way textiles or clothes are produced”.

This major study of sustainability and, more specifically, textile sustainability is the groundbreaking research as it is the first to focus on the global consumer rather than on the textile trade. “The OEKO-TEX portfolio of testing, certification and label products has increased substantially since we first entered the market in 1992,” says Anna Czerwinska, head of marketing and communication at OEKO-TEX.

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“The world’s issues and consumer attitudes have changed just as significantly. As long-time leaders in textile sustainability, we felt that this unique global study to quantify consumer attitudes about textile sustainability was a fitting tribute to our past twenty-five years as well as a worthy undertaking to prepare us to succeed in the next.”

The study of more than 11,000 clothing and home textile consumers around the world showed that most people (80% to 90%) are aware of “eco-friendly” clothing and home textiles. Thirty-six percent (36%) have purchased eco-friendly clothing and 32%, home textiles. Purchase is higher (54%) for “clothing or home textiles for babies or young children made with organic or other sustainable fibers.”

Most people of the world want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. According to the survey, most (66%) feel that “the actions of an individual like myself can reverse climate change” and 7 in 10 indicate that they are “committed to living a sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyle”

60% of global consumers want to know if their clothing and home textiles are certified to be safe from harmful substances and responsibly produced. On the other hand, 31% indicate that they have purchased certified clothing.

The survey result showed that once people learn about the textile industry and the work done by OEKO-TEX®, 9 in 10 indicate that they would be likely to look for OEKO-TEX® labels in the future with 4 in 10 being very likely to do so. 9 in 10 global consumers indicate that an OEKO-TEX® label would give them more confidence in the textile products they buy due primarily to its testing for harmful substance, monitoring and managing environmental and social impact with objectivity and scientific methodology.

OEKO-TEX hired consumer products researcher, Ellen Karp and her company, Anerca Intl., to conduct the project. Participants completed an online survey with a full spectrum of questions designed to gauge their attitudes about sustainability, harmful substances, environmental responsibility and the social welfare of textile workers.

 “The quantitative findings derived through The Key to Confidence study should serve as a call to action for the textile industry,” says Karp. “Consumers are fast learning that their textile buying decisions impact not only their families but also their communities and beyond.”

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