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How Corporate Sharewashing Practices Undermine Consumer Trust

Department of Economics and Management, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany
Faculty International Strategy and Marketing, University of Amsterdam Business School, 1018 TV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Einstein Center Digital Future, Technical University of Berlin, 10587 Berlin, Germany
Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, 80539 München, Germany
Department of Economics and Management, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2638;
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
PDF [520 KB, uploaded 27 July 2018]


Sharewashing describes a platform’s act of misleading consumers by purposely portraying an image of social and ecological principles while the platform’s business model does not necessarily involve them. Drawing on Corporate Social Responsibility and Green Marketing literature, we propose and evaluate a research model for investigating the impact of sharewashing perceptions on consumer trust. Based on survey data from 145 millennials, our results reveal a significant negative effect of sharewashing perceptions on consumer trust, partially mediated by perceptions of risk and confusion. We discuss our findings in view of their practical and strategic relevance to sharing economy platform operators. View Full-Text
Keywords: sharewashing; sharing economy; trust sharewashing; sharing economy; trust

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Hawlitschek, F.; Stofberg, N.; Teubner, T.; Tu, P.; Weinhardt, C. How Corporate Sharewashing Practices Undermine Consumer Trust. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2638.

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