Online environmental engagement – room to grow

Posted by Oliver Koll on Jan 30, 2020

Social media can play a significant role in influencing consumers’ views on sustainability. Social media not only provides a platform for environmental activists like Greta Thunberg (the most successful eco-influencer in 2019 with more than 8.9 million followers) but also for anyone who can contribute to what is spread online. In our global #WhoCaresWhoDoes survey we asked shoppers about their social media usage around environmental topics:

  • Across all countries, just 12% indicate that they frequently engage in writing or sharing contributions on environmental issues.
  • Twice as many claim to read posts related to sustainability, while a larger group gets information in a more traditional manner with regular news articles still the predominant source of information.
  • Shoppers in South America are more engaged in social media: They are three times as likely to write or post frequently on environmental issues compared to European consumers.
  • The most active consumers on social media and the environment are in Chile, a country where the public debate on sustainable living has been particularly energetic.
  • Somewhat surprising, many countries in Western Europe rank among the least active when it comes to social media engagement.

Actively posting and sharing content related to environmental issues is still not a regular activity on social media (although more than one quarter of the Eco-Active segment is posting). Passive reception and information seeking dominate but brands can actively stimulate the social discourse online. For example, Patagonia is driving sustainable discourse via the delivery of valuable and authentic content to its online followers.