Controversial fashion, ethical concerns and environmentally significant behaviour: The case of the leather industry

Helena M. de Klerk, Madelein Kearns, Mike Redwood

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper to report on the role of luxury value perceptions and ethical concerns in consumers’ environmentally significant behaviour and purchase intent for genuine leather products. Design/methodology/approach: Non-probability sampling was done and 429 South African males and females, aged 26 years and older and who fell in a household income bracket that allowed them to purchase genuine leather products, completed a structured questionnaire during September 2016. Findings: The study determined that South African consumers’ strong functional and individual luxury value perceptions drive their above-average purchase intent for genuine leather products. Strong individual value perceptions correlated negatively with their purchase intent. Respondents’ expressed strong ethical concerns but almost never participate in environmentally significant behaviour. Research limitations/implications: Findings have implications for the leather industry and retailers and brands who would like to enter the South African luxury leather market. Due to the sampling method, findings can, however, not been generalised to the total population. Practical implications: The leather industry and leather brands should market themselves with the message that the highest pro-environmental and ethical standards have been maintained and that their products should therefore fulfil important individual and functional value perceptions. Originality/value: This study was the first of its kind about the multi-cultural South African leather market’s luxury value perceptions, ethical concerns and environmentally significant behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmentally significant behaviour
  • Ethical concerns
  • Luxury value perceptions


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