Sustainable swells
: exploring the impact of collaborative partnerships between sportswear (surf) brands and environmental athlete activists on consumer valuations

  • Viktoria Kaufels (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The present research investigates the impact of brand-athlete activism on consumer valuations of sportswear (surf) brands engaging in collaborative partnerships to promote an environmental cause. Utilizing existing academic literature on activism, the role of endorsers (e.g., athletes) and different types of environmental initiatives, an experimental study was conducted. A pilot and a main study tested how different types of athlete activism initiatives (product-based versus education-based) influences consumer perceived ethicality, trust perceptions and purchase intentions. Furthermore, it tested for the moderating role of pro-environmental behavior (proenvironmental expertise) on the relationship between the type of athlete activism and consumer valuations. Findings suggest that communicating a collaborative partnership with an environmental athlete activist, is positively valued when compared with a brand communication strategy without it. Also, the nature of environmental athlete activism initiative (product-based vs. education-based) is equally relevant on consumer valuations. Further, when consumers possess pro-environmental expertise regarding the surf industry, the partnership influences their brand valuation, particularly with education-based athlete activism. Mediation analysis suggests that environmental athlete activist beliefs impact the relationship between consumers’ activism levels and their valuations of the sportswear (surf) brand. These results contribute to existing literature on athlete activism and provide insights into the unexplored domain of environmental athlete activism. They also deepen the understanding of consumers’ pro-environmental behavior, offering managers valuable insights for effectively communicating collaborative partnerships. The research emphasizes the significance of partnerships for sportswear (surf) brands, as they enable them to reach a wider audience and limit environmental pressure in the outdoor sports industry.
Date of Award20 Oct 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorVera Herédia Colaço (Supervisor)


  • Collaborative partnerships
  • Sportswear brands
  • Surf industry
  • Consumer valuations
  • Consumer perceived ethicality
  • Trust perceptions
  • Purchase intentions
  • Pro-environmental behavior
  • Environmental athlete activism


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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