The trend is clear: Sustainable consumption knows no crisis
The trend is clear: Sustainable consumption knows no crisis

This story is part 1 of our series on
Trend Study.

The sixth trend study shows: Even in difficult times, German consumers are guided by aspects of sustainability. And: They demand more decisive action and concrete measures to combat climate change and preserve the foundations of human life.

It is impossible to ignore that times are tense. War in Europe, the aftermath of the pandemic, the energy and raw materials crisis and – as consumers cannot fail to notice – significant inflation: Many are struggling to remain optimistic, for perfectly understandable reasons. With this in mind, it is all the more astonishing that German consumers are still clearly committed to ethical consumption. This is the most important lesson learned from our Sixth Trend Study on Ethical Consumption, produced by Trendbüro on behalf of the Otto Group.

No more procrastination
Prof Peter Wippermann, founder of the Trendbüro, explains the figures: “Given the current sense of crisis, it would have been reasonable to expect a far steeper decline in commitment to ethical consumption. Consumers have become very price-sensitive out of sheer necessity and the limitations placed on their expenditures. But the fact that a clear majority remains committed to sustainable consumption is very pleasing and actually a minor sensation.” It can be assumed that the trend towards ethical consumption has become firmly established, as it continues to receive such clear approval ratings, even in times of crisis.

Prof. Peter Wippermann
Prof. Peter Wippermann

A clear majority of the population has come to realize that the climate crisis in particular requires bold action – without delay.

Prof Peter Wippermann, founder of the Trendbüro

Companies have a duty
Another insight obtained from the study: consumers are demanding a clear commitment from companies. Mere lip service and greenwashing are no longer tolerated. CEO Alexander Birken puts the findings of the study into context: “Companies are expected to release more than just a ‘purpose statement’. The study confirms a demand for more concerted action and specific measures – otherwise they will lose trust.” In this sense, sustainability is not an obstacle to success, but rather will become an imperative going forward.

Alexander Birken
Alexander Birken

The Otto Group recognized many years ago that sustainable action and a responsible approach in the treatment of people and nature are becoming a ‘license to operate’ for companies. Sustainability is firmly embedded in our DNA.

Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group

The trend will continue to grow
Prof Wippermann predicts that the trend towards sustainable consumption will increase in the years ahead. The most important reasons: Awareness of climate change and the need to act are rising at an ever-increasing rate. Associated with this is a steady increase in regulatory requirements that are pushing companies towards greater sustainability. “A new economic sector around the topics of circular economy, repair and recycling will emerge at the same time”, explains Prof Wippermann. It is therefore reasonable to expect that we will soon be discussing fundamental and self-evident behavioral patterns – and no longer merely a trend towards greater sustainability. In all areas of society

The trend study – structure and significance
The Otto Group has commissioned the Trendbüro consultancy agency with preparing the ‘Trend Study on Ethical Consumption’ since 2007. It has since become one of the most important periodic publications on the purchasing behavior of German consumers. 1000 people in Germany between the ages of 16 and 72 were interviewed for the most recent study.

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