Co-Creation and Green Trust : Exploring the effects of co-creation on green trust and its implications for sustainable business model development
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- Master Thesis 
Environmental sustainability is gaining rising attention, and for good reason. Consumers have realized the growing need for change and are now increasing their expectations towards companies’ sustainability efforts. As a result, companies are starting to put sustainability at the heart of their business. However, these rising consumer expectations has also led to an incentive for companies to greenwash, and the consumers’ scepticism of companies’ sustainability measures is growing. This is creating challenges for conscious companies in convincing consumers of their sincere sustainability efforts, which ultimately creates challenges in building green trust. Therefore, this research aimed to identify the antecedents of green trust, specifically looking at the effect of co-creation on green trust, and the corresponding implications this has for the development of sustainable business models. By the use of a quantitative survey (n=90) on NHH students, the empirical model looked at the influence of the DART-framework of value co-creation by Prahalad and Ramaswamy (2004c) on green trust. Green trust was constructed by the three dimensions ability, benevolence, and integrity from Mayer et. al (1995)’s integrative model of trust. The results of the study later led to an adjusted research model, combining ability, benevolence, and integrity into one factor, green trust. Findings showed that co-creation, through the four DART dimensions explain 21.9 % of, and have a partial positive effect on, green trust. Only risk assessment and transparency proved to have a significant impact on green trust in B2C relationships in the clothing and shoe-industry. The implications for business model development can be summarized as a need for facilitation of risk assessment and transparency. Particularly, through open and honest information sharing regarding all aspects of the business model. To build green trust and avoid greenwashing accusations, there needs to be green efforts in the company and no exaggerated claims. Nevertheless, as only 21.9 % of the variance in green trust is explained by co-creation, it shows that there is a lot more to investigate in a field of growing importance.