Fashion, beauty, and lots of marketing: The Internet platform Instagram has the reputation of a consumer and illusory world. However, some influencers rely on advertising for sustainability instead of Talmi shine.
On a ship, there is no room for an infinite amount of stuff. That’s why Laura Mitulla learned early on to limit herself to the essentials. Since 2016, the 24-year-old From Berlin has been reporting on Instagram and in the online magazine “The OGNC” about her minimalist way of life, shaped by her childhood on a barge. “It felt wrong to close the laptop and not show anyone and prove how diverse a sustainable way of life can be,” Mitulla says.
The 24-year-old blogger and influencer is now part of an antithesis to the lifestyle that is often exemplified on Instagram. With all the perfect-looking travel pictures, advantageously staged bodies pretended luck, and masses of influencer marketing, the image network has more of a reputation as a consumer and illusory world. In recent years, however, a counter-movement has formed on the platform – “Sinnfluencerinnen”, a kind of green niche.
Much of the scene is young and female
Vreni Jäckle, Jana Braumüller, and Nina Lorenzen are campaigning for more transparency and fair conditions in the textile industry on the “Fashion Changers” channel. Shia Su shows on the account “Wasteland Rebel” how to live with Zero Waste, i.e. without causing waste.
Louisa Dellert has developed from a fitness blogger to a climate activist, talks to politicians and entrepreneurs about environmental issues, and informs about green electricity and environmental balances of products. Madeleine Alizadeh shows on her account “DariaDaria” that a life largely without animal products, with social commitment and fairly produced clothing, does not have to mean self-mortification, but can be fun.
With their commitment to a sustainable lifestyle, the women reach hundreds of thousands of people. Louisa Dellert is followed by around 384,000 users, DariaDaria has around 237,000 followers and Su is followed by 102,000 people.
With its focus on visual communication, the social network is suitable for conveying content concisely and, if necessary, emotionally, says media scientist Jan-Hinrich Schmidt. At the Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg, he conducts research on digital media and political communication.
“The influencers can communicate topics in a completely different way than ministries and trade magazines could,” he explains.
There is a close, “almost personal relationship” between influencers and users, explains Benjamin Borgerding, Digital Campaigner at Greenpeace Germany. That’s why they influenced their subscribers much more than classic brand ambassadors. “This also applies to positive or desirable behavior – such as a more conscious approach to consumption, food or plastic,” Borgerding said.
However, he takes a critical view when influencers are only superficially interested in a topic because it is currently in vogue. Then there is the danger “that a certain problem is trivialized because it is only quickly used for self-expression”.
In addition, in order to be able to make a living from their work on Instagram, many are dependent on entering into cooperation with companies and advertising products, companies, or organizations. Some also sell their own products: Dellert operates an online shop for sustainable everyday objects such as shopping nets and lunch boxes, and Alizadeh a fairly produced fashion line.
Acting instead of discussing
Although she sees the sale of new goods “also as problematic” and repeatedly warns to buy only what is really needed; nevertheless, she prefers people to buy “fairly” from her than from conventional manufacturers.
Zero-waste blogger Shia Su goes one step further. She does not approve of even sustainable consumption without reduction, “because that helps to maintain the capitalist, growth-based system,” she says. In order to take effective action against climate change, one must move away from overconsumption.
The engagement of the influencers not only takes place online but also spills into the political landscape. Alizadeh, for example, recently announced that she will stand for the Greens in the Austrian National Council elections in October – but the 30-year-old is running for the last place on the list.
And Mitulla explains in workshops how a climate-friendly lifestyle can work: “If I manage to inspire several thousand people to consume less and more consciously, then I don’t really care on which medium this happens,” she says. “The main thing is that it happens. And action is being taken instead of discussing.”