Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

What determines consumers' use of eco-labels? Taking a close look at label trust

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Matthew GortonORCiD, Dr Barbara ToccoORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Elsevier B.V., 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2021 Elsevier B.V.Eco-labels are informational cues that transform credence into quasi-search attributes but their influence on consumer decision making is often disappointing. This paper identifies antecedents of trust in, and use of, eco-labels, validating a theoretical model with data for four publicly managed organic labels (the EU green leaf and three national labels from France, Germany and Serbia). Drawing on a large dataset of European consumers, the analysis reveals that the effect of institutional trust on use of an eco-label is mediated by trust in that eco-label. Trust in an eco-label positively affects use of that eco-label. Knowledge of third-party certification positively affects trust in, and use of, an eco-label. The results suggest that for eco-label managers wishing to increase consumer uptake of their labels, communicating third-party verification as is a critically important informational cue for enhancing consumer trust.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gorton M, Tocco B, Yeh C-H, Hartmann M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ecological Economics

Year: 2021

Volume: 189

Print publication date: 01/11/2021

Online publication date: 28/07/2021

Acceptance date: 20/07/2021

Date deposited: 16/08/2021

ISSN (print): 0921-8009

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6106

Publisher: Elsevier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107173


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric