Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the effect of distributing sustainable labels on the retailer’s corporate brand. More specifically, the objectives are to investigate how the scope of a portfolio of sustainable labels affects the consumer perceived ethicality (CPE) of the retailer that distributes them and to understand how the perceived ethicality affects retail patronage. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 230 individuals participated in a street intercept survey. Data were analysed with partial least squares structural equation modelling. Findings – Both the perceived scope of the portfolios of collective sustainable labels and retailer-owned sustainable labels improve the CPE of the retailer. In addition, the CPE of the retailer increases patronage. The portfolio of collective sustainable labels has more impact on the CPE of the retailer than the portfolio of retailer-owned labels, but the latter has more impact on retail patronage. Research limitations/implications – In addition to limitations inherent to the methodology (e.g. survey based on stated behaviours), the model developed is simple and exploratory and does not include potential boundary conditions of the highlighted effects. Practical implications – Sustainable labels may not only contribute to product sales and product positioning, but also to position the retailer brand by improving the consumer perception of ethicality and indirectly increase retail patronage. Originality/value – Anchored in the branding literature, this research is the first to conceptualize sustainable labels as a portfolio and measure their collective impact on the retailer’s corporate brand and indirectly on patronage.