How do you feel about sustainability, Germany?

An economic leader that fails to reach its climate goals

Germany, the fourth biggest economy in the world and the biggest one in Europe has failed to reach its climate goals. While it used to be a global leader for renewable energies and helped to start a global transition, a number of policy changes have since significantly slowed down the reduction of emissions. Germany is now falling far behind other countries, not being able to meet its own 40% reduction target, set in 2007.

Just like in Germany, many people from all over the world feel that they're being failed by their governments and that they need to take action themselves. Fridays for Future has brought attention to the urgent issue of climate change and has brought millions of people, a lot of them young students, together to fight for a common cause: A sustainable future for us and for our planet. But how has this movement influenced the German public and their consumption behavior regarding sustainability?

30 per cent of Germans care about living sustainably

A recent study by MScience, a company for research and analytics, has studied the knowledge of and attitude towards sustainability and the effects on purchasing behavior of the German public after the Fridays for Future movement has brought attention to this subject . They have interviewed 1500 Germans from the age of sixteen in an quantitative online survey. According to the survey, more than half of all Germans have a general interest in sustainability, while 30 per cent state that they care about living sustainably themselves. Only nine per cent were found to have a 'sustainable attitude', meaning they attach great importance to sustainability in all aspects of their lives, such as buying eco-friendly products, fair trade, conservation, waste reduction and energy or water saving.

A lack of availability

Most of those who are interested in sustainability learn about the subject through family and friends, followed by Social Media, newspapers and search engines. In total, only 41% of all respondents feel like they are sufficiently informed about sustainable consumption, more than half feel like they should be better informed and take more care about how sustainably they act.

How do the 30 per cent that says they care about living more consciously implement this in their everyday life? A third try to avoid waste, especially plastic, for example through doing less online shopping. Furthermore, they prefer to buy regional and seasonal products and save energy and water. Although motivated, it can be tricky to successfully implement these measurements sometimes. As the biggest obstacle, half of the interviewees named the price. Also, the lack of availability and clear labelling are a problem for a lot of people. Many feel confused by the different labels for organic or fair trade products or different types of plastic. 22% feel like they don't have enough time to look for sustainable products, while 18% lack confidence in the brands that state sustainability.

Eco-friendly advertising

What about the brands or companies that care and are beginning to create more and more products that are sustainable? Do Germans want to see ads that highlight the eco-friendly aspects of the products? Half of the respondents were generally open towards so-called Green Marketing.

Especially younger people even stated to feel motivated by this type of communication. However, it is important that the message is genuine. Only 23% consider Marketing that focuses on sustainability as authentic, and companies that are generally not considered to be sustainable by the public will often risk being thought as doing 'greenwashing' - making unsubstantial claims to deceive consumers into believing that a brand is environmentally friendly.

In conclusion, the survey shows that Germans are becoming more aware of and interested in sustainability. They are willing to shop more consciously, for example through avoiding plastic and buying more regional products. However, the willingness to do so will decrease if the products are difficult to find and too expensive.

We at DURA|NATURA believe that eco-friendly products play an essential part in our future and that they need to become more available to the consumer in order to make a difference. This is why we have specialized in the Sales and Marketing of sustainable or organic brands in the German and Dutch market. We want to help innovative and conscious companies to place their products in the market, and therefore not only support brands that want to do good but also raise awareness in the public.

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