Online activism is a modern-day phenomenon present within online communities. Sustainable fashion is a current movement resulting from consumers' heightened environmental awareness and organisations becoming ‘greener’. Driven by hashtags, online communities are hubs for lobbyists and influencers who desire change from clothing brands. This study undertook focus groups and interviews to probe users’ lobbying behaviours via knowledge sharing within an online community. Two user types emerge. One shares knowledge to lobby others, driven by a desire for change. The other shares knowledge, led by their green beliefs, resulting in unintentional lobbying for change. This paper contributes insight into online lobbyists' behaviours and drivers. The challenge is to encourage online users to realise there will be consequences, intended or not. In the case of a ‘good cause’ such as sustainability, a moral concern does not justify what others might view to be unethical behaviour, heavy-handed pressurising or misleading lobbying.
Rebecca Beech is Lecturer in Business Management at the Coventry University. Her research interests include knowledge sharing, online communities, digital research methods, sustainable consumption, pro-environmental behaviour, and sustainable fashion. Rebecca Beech has completed her PhD in 2020 with the title: Understanding Knowledge Sharing in an Online Community: Within the Context of Green Clothing.