Lidl, Tchibo and Zalando use the Greta effect

Greta Thunberg

The Swedish climate activist influenced many young people in Germany – also in their consumer behavior.

(Foto: imago images/TT)

Düsseldorf Since Barbara Meier won the second season of the talent show “Germanys Next Top Model”, she has worked as a model for C&A, Disneyland Paris and McDonald’s. She has also appeared in various television productions as an actress.

But now Meier, who recently became a mother for the first time, has got a whole new role. She designs a collection of baby clothes for the discounter Lidl. The special thing about it: The textiles that will be in stores in spring 2021 are sustainably produced and therefore carry the “Green Button” eco-label.

With this action, Lidl should hit the nerve of the times in two ways. Because with the popular Barbara Meier as the brand ambassador for the “Green Button”, Generation Z, i.e. the young customers born after 1995, can be addressed particularly well via social media.

And at least since the “Fridays for Future” movement launched by Greta Thunberg, it has been known that this generation is not only committed to climate protection, but is also increasingly buying sustainable products.

What is often even underestimated: These young people have a great influence on their environment, the Greta effect also changes the shopping behavior of their families. This is confirmed by a current study by the market research company GfK.

42 percent of those surveyed said that environmental issues play an important role in their personal environment. And 45 percent of those responsible for households said that their shopping habits were primarily influenced by their children. GfK expert Jan-Fredrik Stahlbock therefore advises retailers: “The growing target group of environmentally conscious people must be offered appropriate solutions.” Failure to do this would be fatal in the medium and long term.

State seal should create more transparency

One company that has taken this into account for a long time is Tchibo. The Hamburg family business has been focusing on sustainability for 15 years. “What you see in Tchibo shops today is the result of years of work to integrate sustainability and fairness into our business model,” explains a Tchibo spokeswoman.

Since the Tchibo company has been producing 90 percent of clothing from fairly traded cotton for years, it has already met many of the requirements of the “Green Button” seal and has thus been seamlessly certified.

The state seal for sustainable textiles is intended to create clarity for the consumer by evaluating it using social and ecological criteria and according to high standards. In addition, the seal recognized early on that the young population in particular supports the sustainability trend and, in addition to Barbara Meier, also relied on models such as Sara Nuru and Marie Nasemann as ambassadors.

Although Tchibo also has older customers as a target group, it also makes very specific use of the fact that Generation Z has a major influence on family purchases. That is why Tchibo advertises its sustainable products not only with TV spots and in magazines, but also with the help of online advertising and social media.

This is exactly where you will reach the environmentally conscious Generation Z. For digital natives, the Internet is of course part of everyday life. This customer group is always well informed due to the frequent internet consumption: Before the relatives make a purchase decision, they often look for information about the product online. They can also be inspired on social media.

Online retailers in particular benefit from this Zalando. He defines his target group through Generation Z and knows the influence of young people. Zalando tries to reach this through advertising on social media and influencers.

Zalando is expanding its green range

In addition, Zalando is making every effort to invest in a greener offering and also to follow the sustainability trend. This can be seen in the fact that Zalando has expanded its range of sustainable fashion from 27,000 to over 60,000 items since the beginning of 2020. At the beginning of October, the company announced that this offer was meeting with high demand. During the same period, the number of active Zalando customers who buy sustainable fashion has doubled and is now 40 percent.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the idea of ​​sustainability has also become even more important for Zalando customers. Co-CEO Rubin Ritter says: “In a recent survey, 34 percent of our customers said that in view of the coronavirus pandemic, sustainability has become more important to them.”

To increase the range, Zalando has launched the first capsule collection “redeZIGN for Circularity” with the innovation platform Fashion for Good and the Berlin start-up circular.fashion. This was only a few weeks after Zalando launched the “Pre-Owned” second-hand platform.

Due to the high demand for sustainability, many fashion brands are currently aiming to become “greener”. The Spanish brand Zara would like to only produce clothing from sustainable materials by 2025. H & M’s clothing should only consist of sustainable or recycled materials by 2030. These two brands are also largely consumed by young customers.

Protest against Zara

Climate activists from Extincion Rebellion and Youth for Climate block a store of the fashion retailer in Toulouse.

(Photo: imago images / Hans Lucas)

And so-called fast fashion in particular, i.e. manufacturers with very quick collection changes, are under great pressure. Because climate protectors accuse them of fueling the throw-away mentality. For this reason, activists have already blocked stores, for example from Zara, in protest actions.

Good and credible sustainability concepts therefore not only have advantages for the environment, but also for companies. As studies have found, some members of Generation Z are willing to pay a premium for sustainably produced items.

The Gfk study also came to the conclusion that the greatest influence on the control and limitation of environmental damage is attributed to the manufacturers. This proportion is 40 percent. This is followed by governments with 35 percent, consumers with 20 percent and retailers with just five percent. This also results in the increased desire for more transparency and clarification in the production and supply chains for customers.

More: Fair fashion instead of Wiesndirndl, the Almliebe founder relies on sustainable fashion

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