Aligning Consumer Desires with Brand Messaging on Cellulosic Fibers

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
June 20th, 2024
7:33 AM

Learn about the companies that are making significant strides to bridge the gap between consumer desires for sustainability and transparency and their brand messaging, such as Lenzing, Inditex, and Kering.


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In the rapidly evolving textile industry, cellulosic fibers have emerged as a significant contender in the quest for sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives. Derived from renewable sources such as wood pulp, bamboo, and cotton linters, these fibers boast a lower environmental impact compared to traditional materials like cotton and polyester. However, a glaring gap persists between consumer wants and brand messaging, highlighting an urgent need for brands to recalibrate their communication strategies.


Understanding Consumer Desires

Today's consumers are more informed and conscious than ever before. A growing segment prioritizes sustainability, ethical production, and transparency. According to a survey by McKinsey, 67% of consumers consider the use of sustainable materials an important factor in their purchase decisions. Furthermore, Nielsen reports that 73% of global consumers would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact.

Consumers are not just looking for products; they are seeking a narrative. They want to know the origin of the materials, the manufacturing process, and the brand's overall commitment to sustainability. This trend is particularly pronounced among millennials and Gen Z, who are poised to become the dominant consumer groups in the coming years.


The Current State of Brand Messaging

Despite this clear consumer demand, many brands fall short in their messaging. A study by the Fashion Revolution found that only 34% of major brands disclose information about their raw material suppliers. Moreover, the language used in brand communications often lacks clarity and authenticity, filled with generic statements and vague claims about sustainability.

Brands frequently tout cellulosic fibers as eco-friendly without providing concrete data or certification to back these claims. This lack of transparency can lead to skepticism and mistrust among consumers, who are becoming adept at distinguishing between genuine sustainability efforts and greenwashing.

Key Disconnects

Transparency vs. Vagueness: Consumers crave detailed information about the sourcing and processing of cellulosic fibers. Brands, however, often provide superficial details, missing the opportunity to build trust through transparency. Sustainability Claims vs. Proof: While many brands claim their products are sustainable, few provide third-party certifications or detailed life cycle assessments to substantiate these claims. Consumers want evidence, not just assertions.

Storytelling vs. Data Dumping: Effective communication requires a balance between data and storytelling. Consumers are looking for compelling narratives that connect them emotionally to the brand's sustainability journey, rather than just a litany of facts.  

Bridging the Gap

To bridge this gap, brands must adopt a multi-faceted approach:

1. Enhanced Transparency: Brands should aim to disclose comprehensive information about their supply chains, including sourcing, production processes, and certifications. Utilizing blockchain technology can provide an immutable record of the journey from raw material to finished product, enhancing trust and credibility.

2. Substantiated Claims: It is imperative for brands to support their sustainability claims with robust data. Third-party certifications such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) for wood-based fibers or OEKO-TEX® for chemical safety can provide the necessary validation.

3. Engaging Storytelling: Brands need to craft compelling narratives that resonate with consumers' values and emotions. Highlighting the human and environmental impact of sustainable practices can create a deeper connection with the audience.

4. Consumer Education: Brands have a role in educating consumers about the benefits and intricacies of cellulosic fibers. Clear, accessible information can empower consumers to make informed choices.

5. Collaborative Efforts: The gap can also be bridged through industry collaboration. Brands, suppliers, and certification bodies should work together to establish and promote best practices, ensuring a unified approach to sustainability.


Which Companies Are Bridging the Gap in Their Messaging?

Several companies are making significant strides to bridge the gap between consumer desires for sustainability and transparency and their brand messaging, particularly regarding cellulosic fibers.

Lenzing is a notable leader in this area, focusing on transparency and sustainable cellulosic fibers through its TENCEL™ brand. Lenzing emphasizes the eco-friendly and biodegradable nature of its products, derived from sustainably sourced wood. The company has actively engaged in consumer education, aiming to build trust and confidence by providing detailed information about the sustainability of their materials. Lenzing’s efforts are supported by surveys indicating that transparency and sustainability are key factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions​.

The Fashion Pact, a global coalition of fashion brands and suppliers, is another significant initiative targeting sustainability and transparency. Launched at the 2019 G7 Summit, this pact includes brands like Kering, Inditex, H&M, and Ralph Lauren. The pact focuses on three main pillars: biodiversity, climate, and oceans. The participating brands have committed to substantial environmental goals, such as halting biodiversity loss and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The Fashion Pact has seen considerable progress, with a majority of its members implementing measures to reduce their environmental impact and developing formal sustainability strategies​.

Fashion Revolution and its Fashion Transparency Index highlight how brands are performing in terms of transparency. The index evaluates brands based on their disclosure of human rights and environmental policies, practices, and impacts. This initiative has encouraged many brands to improve their transparency levels, thereby helping consumers make more informed choices. It also aims to hold brands accountable for their social and environmental impacts, which is crucial for achieving sustainability in the fashion industry​.

These efforts indicate a positive shift towards greater alignment between consumer expectations and brand messaging in the fashion industry, particularly concerning sustainable practices and transparency in the use of cellulosic fibers.



The gap between consumer wants and brand messaging on cellulosic fibers represents both a challenge and an opportunity. By realigning their communication strategies to emphasize transparency, substantiated claims, and engaging storytelling, brands can not only meet consumer expectations but also differentiate themselves in a competitive market. As the demand for sustainable products continues to rise, those brands that can authentically and effectively convey their commitment to sustainability will be poised for long-term success.