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.
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