Not just a trend: why more and more influencers are promoting sustainability
More and more influencers are wanting to take a stand. Content creators and their followers have been sensitized to sustainability issues for some time now, and this awareness is growing by the day.
Although the war in Ukraine and other global crises are currently dominating the headlines ahead of climate change and its effects, the issue of sustainability is one that concerns and stirs up emotions in us all. Time is running out: heat waves, droughts, forest fires, water shortages, and the extinction of entire species are just some of the most devastating effects of climate change manifesting themselves with increasing frequency and force, and Germany isn’t being spared either. Nor is the economy, which is facing greater pressure to act.
Becoming a climate-neutral society – modeled by social media
The EU has already issued a number of regulations to foster sustainable business activities; with effect from 2024, companies will have to supplement their financial reports with ESG reports (Environmental Social Governance). That is undoubtedly a logical step from an ecological perspective, but it is likely to pose significant challenges for many companies. That’s because they will have to tangibly prove what sustainability strategies they are implementing and how. All these factors and their implications combined with the fact that digitalization and globalization are continuing unabated, albeit quietly in the background, will lead to a permanent shift in societal values. And the surrounding conversation is louder on social media than almost anywhere else.
Influencer marketing is also adapting and can make a significant contribution to spotlighting sustainability messages from the political and business world to reach the public at large. Whether Gen Z or millennials – for the majority of young people, posts revolving around beauty, fashion, and a staged life of luxury are no longer relevant enough. Below, we present a selection of just some of the many influencers who are putting sustainability center stage.
Louisa Dellert rose to fame on Instagram as a typical fitness and nutrition influencer. Dellert has since also branched out beyond social media as an established artist, expert, and presenter who uses her popularity to promote (eco)political messages and once even took her Instagram community along to a visit to a wastewater treatment plant. She discusses socially relevant issues and encourages her followers to think and act more sustainably. Dellert amplifies these issues by collaborating with relevant brands and recommending their products.
The Studio71 artist Jonas Winkler is a professional carpenter, DIYer, and barbecue expert who emphasizes the importance of sustainable and regional materials. He has collaborated with companies such as NERO, an organically certified charcoal producer – a meaningful and profitable collaboration for both parties because the values of the creator and advertising partner perfectly complemented each other. In such cases, authenticity is definitely written with a capital A.
Jean Pierre Kraemer
Successful automobile YouTuber Jean Pierre Kraemer, aka JP Performance, and Formula E racer and YouTuber Daniel Abt both tested the mobility+ app developed by the energy company EnBW (Energie Baden-Württemberg AG) and demonstrated how easy and uncomplicated e-mobility has become – and how much fun driving electrically can be, even for die-hard combustion engine fans like JP.
Charlotte Schüler shares her experiences and thoughts on sustainability on TikTok, Instagram, and her blog to motivate her community to avoid plastic – for example by driving a campaign for reBuy. She has released several books and hosts her own podcast “Becoming Green”.
Madeleine Alizadeh, aka DariaDaria, has made a name for herself as a sustainable influencer and has previously collaborated with E.ON. In addition to topics such as body positivity, sustainability, and zero waste, she is also a strong advocate of sustainable and fair fashion and has even launched her own label.
Marie Nasemann is a mom to two children and lives with her husband Sebastian in Berlin. She’s not only a model, author, and actress, but also a passionate greenfluencer with a real appreciation for fair and sustainable fashion. In her blog “FAIRKNALLT” (fairness rocks), she also writes about topics including beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and travel. Her first book came out last year: “Fairknallt. Mein grüner Kompromiss | Ein Buch für Nachhaltigkeit, Gleichberechtigung, Fair Fashion und das Klima” (Fairness rocks. My green compromise. | A book on sustainability, equality, fair fashion, and the climate).
Saliha “Sally” Özcan
In April 2012, while still studying, Saliha “Sally” Özcan started her YouTube channel “Sallys Tortenwelt” (Sally’s world of cakes), where she initially mainly presented cooking and baking recipes. She now also uses her popularity to raise awareness of social issues, whether it be criticizing the lack of acceptance toward refugees or giving people a wake-up call as a proponent of an energy-saving campaign launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
So, there’s no denying that influencers are increasingly appealing to our green conscience. They can create valuable momentum for sustainable initiatives and products to catch on, while leveraging their extremely close bond with their community to give practical recommendations for action. This is a really positive trend because it promises enormous potential. If creators and brands credibly join forces, the highly relevant societal issue of sustainability will be boosted by the business model of countless social media stars in an ever more powerful and far-reaching way.