Communicating Sustainability: The Case of Slow-Fashion Micro-organizations

  • Claudia E. HenningerEmail author
  • Panayiota J. Alevizou
  • Caroline J. Oates
  • Ranis Cheng
Part of the The Anthropocene: Politik—Economics—Society—Science book series (APESS, volume 3)


This chapter analyses how micro-organizations operating in the UK’s slow-fashion industry communicate online with their target audiences and promote sustainability utilising the RACE Framework. It focuses on the challenges these companies are facing, as well as aspects these organizations are handling well within their online communication. Furthermore, it outlines current events, issues, and challenges faced in the slow-fashion industry before presenting a brief literature review on online communication. A case study approach provides the basis for analysis by following and extending the RACE Framework. The concluding remarks highlight key implications and highlights potential areas of further study.


Micro-organizations Online communication RACE framework Slow-fashion Sustainability Sustainable fashion 


  1. AMA (American Marketing Association), 2012: Dictionary, AMA; at: (1 August 2012).
  2. Baden, D.; Harwood, I.; Woodward, D., 2011: “The Effects of Procurement Policies on Downstream CSR Activity: Content Analytic Insights into the Views and Actions of SME Owner–Manager”, in: International Small Business Journal, 29: 259–277; doi: 10.1177/0266242610375770.Google Scholar
  3. Belz, F.-M.; Peattie, K., 2012: Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective (Chichester: John Wiley).Google Scholar
  4. Bonini, S.; Oppenheim, J., 2008: “Cultivating the Green Consumer”, in: Stanford Social Innovation Review, 6: 56–61.Google Scholar
  5. BSR (Business of a Better World), 2012: Sustainable Fashion Design: Oxymoron No more?, BSR; at: (5 July 2013).
  6. Chaffey, D., 2013: Introducing RACE: A Practical Framework to Improve Your Digital Marketing, Smart Insights; at: (23 September 2014).
  7. Chaffey, D.; Bosomworth, D., 2012: Digital Marketing Strategy, Smart Insights; at: (23 September 2014).
  8. Chaffey, D.; Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012: Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice, 5th edition (Harlow: Pearson).Google Scholar
  9. Coles, N., 2013: International Review of Consumer Oriented Environmental Projects and Initiatives: Encouraging Sustainable Consumption Patterns, CSCP; at: (20 November 2014).
  10. Connell, J., 2014: Realising the Potential: Micro Businesses’ Experience of Communications Services, Consumer Communication Panel; at: (25 January 2015).
  11. DFI (Danish Fashion Institute), 2014: Copenhagen Fashion Summit: The World’s Largest Event on Sustainability in Fashion, Copenhagen Fashion Summit; at: (20 November 2014).
  12. Dickson, M.; Cataldi, C.; Grover, C., 2011: The Slow Fashion Movement, not Just a Label; at: (20 November 2014).
  13. EC (European Commission), 2012: Policies to Encourage Sustainable Consumption, EC; at: (20 November 2014).
  14. EC (European Commission), 2013: Craft and Micro-enterprises, Europa; at: (24 January 2015).
  15. Eder-Hansen, J.; Kryger, J.; Morris, J.; Sisco, C., 2012: The NICE Consumer: Research Summary and Discussion Paper, BSR; at: (5 July 2013).
  16. Europa, 2007: Definition of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Europa; at: (24 January 2014).
  17. Fader, P.S.; Winer, R.S., 2012: “Introduction to the Special Issue on the Emergence and Impact of User-Generated Content”, in: Marketing Science, 31,3: 369–371; doi: 10.1287/mksc.1120.0715.Google Scholar
  18. Fassin, Y.; Van Rossem, A.; Buelens, M., 2011: “Small-Business Owner–Managers Perceptions of Business Ethics and CSR-Related Concepts”, in: Journal of Business Ethics, 98: 425–453; doi: 10.1007/s10551-010-0586-y.Google Scholar
  19. Gabrielli, V.; Balboni, B., 2010: “SME Practice Towards Integrated Marketing Communications”, in: Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 28,3: 275–290; doi: 10.1108/02634501011041426.Google Scholar
  20. Gardetti, M.A.; Torres, A.L., 2013: Sustainability in Fashion and Textiles: Values, Design, Production and Consumption (Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing).Google Scholar
  21. Gilmore, A.; Gallagher, D.; Henry, S., 2007: “E-marketing and SMEs: Operational Lessons for the Future”, in: European Business Review, 19,3: 234–247; doi: 10.1108/09555340710746482.Google Scholar
  22. Gould, H., 2013: “Alternative Business Models for a Sustainable Fashion Industry”, Guardian; at: (20 December 2014).
  23. Halme, M.; Korpela, M., (2013: “Responsible Innovation Toward Sustainable Development in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: A Resource Perspective”, in: Business Strategy and the Environment, 23,8: 547–566; doi: 10.1002/bse.1801.Google Scholar
  24. Heggestuen, J.; Danova, T., 2013: Brand Presence: How to Choose Where to Be on Social Media, Without Breaking Your Budget, Business Insider; at: (20 December 2014).
  25. Hussey, D.M.; Eagan, P.D., 2007: “Using Structural Equation Modelling to Test Environmental Performance in Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers: Can SEM Help SMEs?”, in: Journal of Cleaner Production, 15,4: 303–312.Google Scholar
  26. Keller, K.L., 2001: “Mastering the Marketing Communications Mix: Micro and Macro Perspective on Integrated Marketing Communication Programs”, in: Journal of Marketing Management, 17,7/8: 819–847; doi: 10.1362/026725701323366836.Google Scholar
  27. Killbourne, W.; McDonagh, P.; Prothero, A., 1997: “Sustainable Consumption and the Quality of Life: A Macromarketing Challenge to the Dominant Social Paradigm”, in: Journal of Macromarketing, 17,1: 4–24; doi: 10.1177/027614679701700103.Google Scholar
  28. Kolandai-Matchett, K., 2009: “Mediated Communication of ‘Sustainable Consumption’ in the Alternative Media: A Case Study Exploring a Message Framing Strategy”, in: International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33: 113–125; doi: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2009.00754.x.Google Scholar
  29. Leeflang, P.S.H.; Verhoef, P.C.; Dahlström, P.; Freundt, T., 2014: “Challenges and Solutions for Marketing in a Digital Era”, in: European Management Journal, 32,1: 1–12; doi: 10.1016/j.emj.2013.12.001.Google Scholar
  30. Leyesdorff, L., 2001: A Sociological Theory of Communication: The Self-organization of the Knowledge Based Society (Boca Raton: Universal Publishers).Google Scholar
  31. Low, G.S., 2000: “Correlates of Integrated Marketing Communications”, in: Journal of Advertising Research, 40,3: 27–39.Google Scholar
  32. Martin, M., 2013: Creating Sustainable Apparel Value Chains: A Primer on Industry Transformation, Impact Economy; at: (20 November 2014).
  33. McDonagh, P., 1998: “Towards a Theory of Sustainable Communication in Risk Society: Relating Issues of Sustainability to Marketing Communications”, in: Journal of Marketing Management, 14: 591–622; doi: 10.1362/026725798784867699.Google Scholar
  34. McDonagh, P.; Prothero, A., 2014: “Sustainability Marketing Research: Past, Present and Future”, in: Journal of Marketing Management, 30,11/12: 1186–1219; doi: 10.1080/0267257X.2014.943263.Google Scholar
  35. Niinimäki, K., 2010: “Eco-clothing, Consumer Identity and Ideology”, in: Sustainable Development, 18,3: 150–162; doi: 10.1002/sd.455.Google Scholar
  36. Niinimäki, K.; Hassi, L., 2011: “Emerging Design Strategies in Sustainable Production and Consumption of Textiles and Clothing”, in: Journal of Cleaner Production, 19: 1876–1883; doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.04.02.
  37. Peattie, K.; Crane, A., 2005: “Green Marketing: Legend, Myth, Farce or Prophesy?”, in: Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 8,4: 357–370; doi: 10.1108/13522750510619733.Google Scholar
  38. Polonsky, M.J., 1994: “A Stakeholder Theory Approach to Designing Environmental Marketing Strategy”, in: Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 10,3: 29–46.Google Scholar
  39. Princen, T., 2005: The Logic of Sufficiency (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  40. Prothero, A.; Peattie, K.; McDonagh, P., 1997: “Communicating Greener Strategies: A Study of On-pack Communications”, in: Business Strategy and the Environment, 6,2: 74–82; doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0836(199705)6:2<74::AID-BSE93>3.0.CO;2-4.Google Scholar
  41. Punch, K.F., 2005: Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, 2nd edition (London: Sage).Google Scholar
  42. Reilly, A.H.; Hynan, K.A., 2014: “Corporate Communication, Sustainability, and Social Media: It’s not Easy (Really) Being Green”, in: Business Horizons, 57: 747–758; doi: 10.1016/j.bushor.2014.07.008.Google Scholar
  43. Rettie, R.; Burchell, K.; Riley, D., 2012: “Normalising Green Behaviours: A New Approach to Sustainability Marketing”, in: Journal of Marketing Management, 28,3/4: 420–444; doi: 10.1080/0267257X.2012.658840.Google Scholar
  44. Ryan, D.; Jones, C., 2012: Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation, 2nd edition (London: Kogan Page).Google Scholar
  45. Salvioni, D.M.; Bosetti, L., 2014: “Sustainable Development and Corporate Communication in Global Markets”, in: Emerging Issues in Management, 1: 1–19; doi: 10.4468/2014.1.03salvioni.bosetti.
  46. Sheth, J.N.; Sethia, N.K.; Srinivas, S., 2011: “Mindful Consumption: A Customer-Centric Approach to Sustainability”, in: Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39,1: 21–39; doi: 10.1007/s11747-010-0216-3.Google Scholar
  47. Steger, U.; Ionescu-Somers, A.; Salzmann, O., 2007: “The Economic Foundations of Corporate Sustainability”, in: Corporate Governance, 7,2: 162–177; doi: 10.1108/14720700710739804.Google Scholar
  48. UN (United Nations), 1992: Programme for Action for Sustainable Development, UN; at: (2 January 2011).
  49. UN (United Nations), 2011: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, UN Documents; at: (2 January 2011).
  50. WCED, 1987: Our Common Future (The Brundtland Report), World Commission on Environment and Development (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  51. WEF (World Economic Forum), 2012: More with Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency, WEF; at: (20 November 2014).
  52. Yin, R.K., 2003: Case Study Research: Design and Method, 3rd edition (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s)  2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia E. Henninger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Panayiota J. Alevizou
    • 1
  • Caroline J. Oates
    • 1
  • Ranis Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.University Teacher in MarketingUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations