We live in a society that is increasingly aware of sustainability issues. In the legislative sphere, there are various interventions aimed at steering the economy towards an intelligent use of available resources in order to improve the social and economic condition of citizens and the health of the planet. Within this panorama, also as a result of the Greta Thunberg phenomenon, the so-called green influencers, figures capable of influencing public opinion and sensitizing individuals to greater responsibility and attention to environmental issues, are becoming increasingly popular. They are people particularly active on social media, endowed with a certain authority and reputation in the field of eco-sustainability, and therefore capable of guiding the choices and behavior of others.
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The identikit of the perfect green influencer
On the occasion of the first edition of the Top Green Influencers, GreenStyle, a magazine dedicated to the environment, health, and wellbeing, renewable energy, sustainable development, and ecology, conducted a study that allowed an initial mapping of Italian social profiles committed to spreading the principles of sustainable development, identifying the characteristics that identify the profile of the perfect green influencer.
According to the research, the green influencer, explains Matteo Campofiorito, editorial director of GreenStyle, is “an activist, with a strong connection to real life and a high degree of consistency in communicating sustainability issues tout court“. Moreover, he differs from foreign influencers by adopting a more glam and lifestyle-oriented communication style.
The study resulted in the identification of around 50 green profiles that were divided and placed into 4 macro-categories according to the topics covered:
- Circular Economy
- Sustainable Mobility
- Sustainable Food
From the analysis of the number of followers, interactions, and online and offline reputation, the top green influencers were then chosen and special mentions were awarded for each category.
Top Green Influencers
Let’s take a closer look at who are the green influencers who have best distinguished themselves in conveying the importance of living in a sustainable society.
Top Green Influencer of the Year
The title of Top Green Influencer of the Year was awarded to the well-known Roman actor Alessandro Gassmann, who launched the #GreenHeroes project on Twitter, through which he undertakes to spread the stories of so-called ‘green heroes’ every week, i.e. individuals, companies and communities that carry out sustainable, ecological activities and participate in the economic development of the territory.
The prize in the Circular Economy category was awarded to lawyer and journalist Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio. Formerly Minister of Agriculture and, during the second Prodi government, of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, he is now President of the Universe Foundation, committed to spreading ecological culture and the green economy. He was also the promoter of the online campaign that led to the Neapolitan pizza becoming an intangible heritage of humanity. The special mention went to Lucia Cuffaro, president of the Movimento per la Decrescita Felice (Movement for Happy Degrowth), which has long been dedicated to raising awareness against waste and promoting organic well-being.
The top Influencer for the Sustainable Food category is environmental scientist Lisa Casali. Testimonial of MSC Sustainable Fishing and WWF for healthy and sustainable food, Casali is an expert in sustainable cooking and author of the blog Ecocucina where she dispenses advice and publishes recipes for zero-impact cooking, promoting healthy and sustainable eating. The special award was presented to Lorenzo Lombardi, founder, and director of the TV program Vegan is Better and LAV National Events Manager.
Tessa Gelisio has been voted the best green lifestyle influencer. An Italian TV presenter, blogger, and environmentalist, she is also the founder of the Planet Onlus association, which focuses on the development of projects for the environmental conservation of natural ecosystems that are continually deteriorating and the promotion of practices and products for sustainable development of society. Within the same category, a further award was given to Camilla Mendini, a designer by profession who has been interested in sustainable fashion since 2015 by publishing various content on Instagram and Youtube.
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The winner of the Sustainable Mobility category is journalist and blogger Luca Talotta, an expert in environmental sustainability applied, in particular, to the automotive world. Another prize went to Andrea Bertaglio, a freelance journalist who has always been attentive to environmental issues and has been working on electric and sustainable mobility for a few years now.
Lucia Valentina Nonna, the author of the book Diary of a vegan family, is the Rising Star chosen and awarded in collaboration with BloggerItalia, the leading Italian platform dedicated to bloggers and digital influencers. On her Instagram account and blog, she shares recipes and tips for adopting a sustainable lifestyle. She is also co-founder of the virtual platform Rete Zero Waste, created with the aim of promoting and spreading a zero-waste lifestyle. Rising Stars are web personalities with less than 100,000 followers, who cannot yet be called influencers for this reason, but who are growing rapidly on social media.
Which green influencers to follow on Instagram?
Casting an eye on green social marketing from our peninsula, there are numerous influencers who have taken on the task of raising awareness of environmental issues. Below are some of the top green influencers to follow on Instagram:
- Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg). Swedish environmental influencer, Greta is a 16-year-old Nobel Peace Prize-nominated activist who became famous for her fight to protect sustainable development. Faced with catastrophic forest fires in Sweden in the summer of 2018, Greta decided to protest against the Swedish government to denounce the serious consequences of global warming and the absenteeism of states in the face of the problems generated by climate change. The protest inspired young people and influencers around the world and resulted in a series of school strikes that led to the birth of a real movement, the #FridaysForFuture, which saw thousands of people take to the streets, in more than 110 countries, to demand that governments declare a state of climate emergency.
- Bea Johnson (@zerowastehome). She is the author of the bestseller Zero Waste Home. The book has been translated into 26 languages and proposes zero-waste home solutions. Bea Johnson was one of the first green influencers to promote zero-waste living through her Instagram profile.
- Immy Lucas (@sustainably_vegan). She is the founder of the Low Impact Movement, which aims to educate on sustainability, dispense advice on how to reduce waste, and promote a vegan lifestyle.
- Alex and Tyler Mifflin (@thewaterbrothers). Tyler and Alex are two brothers who star in a series of eco-adventure documentaries in which they tackle various environmental issues such as plastic pollution and overfishing and propose solutions to protect our planet’s resources.
- Lauren Singer (@trashisfortossers). A New Yorker with a degree in Environmental Studies, Lauren has become an international benchmark in the fight against waste. She is famous for pioneering the zero-waste movement. She has decided to live a zero-waste life, documenting it on her blog Trash is for Tossers, on which she also offers practical tips for producing less waste. Very active on Instagram, to date she is followed by about 337,000 followers.
- Tolmeia Gregory (@tollydollyposh). Since she was 11, she has been running the blog Tolly Dolly Posh, where she writes about ethical and sustainable fashion. On her Instagram profile, she provides more tips on how to dress consciously to reduce the fashion industry’s impact on the environment without sacrificing style.
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How and Why to Become a green influencer
If you too are interested in sustainable development and wish to become a ‘green influencer’, you must first learn how to professionally use your chosen social platforms to give space and shape to your communication.
Instagram is undoubtedly one of the most popular tools among professional influencers. This does not mean that it is the best communication channel for everyone: many influencers, for instance, were born on YouTube, while others have achieved popularity through their blogs. Therefore, in order to carry out your activity as a green influencer in a professional manner, you should carefully choose the platform that best suits your needs.
When choosing your social platform, you have to ask yourself a number of questions:
- Who is your audience?
- Where is the niche of people you want to reach and how much time do they spend on the platform?
- Which channels do the influencers in your niche use?
- What kind of content do you want to produce?
Finding the answer to these questions is the first step in choosing which platform to work on. The second will be to learn to master your platform and, if necessary, to understand how to integrate it with others in order to develop an effective marketing and communication strategy.
To fully understand the functionalities of the different social platforms, understand how they communicate with each other, and thus develop your strategy, one piece of advice is to master the techniques and tools of Social Media Marketing and train as a Social Media Manager.
Produce valuable content
A good influencer must try to diversify from the competition by being original and creative. Consequently, generating quality content relevant to your industry becomes crucial for success. Creating good content will help you enhance your reputation and authority and make you perceived as trustworthy by your followers.
Develop an effective network of contacts
Connect with other influencers and start collaborations to make your business known. Create a relationship of trust and emotional involvement with your followers and don’t forget to interact with them by responding to their reactions, comments, and questions. Working on the emotional component and building your professional network will help you build valuable and long-lasting relationships.
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Monitor your growth
Measuring your performance results is a crucial aspect if you want to make professional use of the different platforms and understand where and how you should push. It will be necessary, for instance, to calculate the engagement rate, i.e. the audience engagement rate, to check the effectiveness of your strategy and to understand, among your content, which is the most successful.
Love what you do and do it well
As you will have realized by now, the ‘craft of being an influencer for the environment’ cannot be improvised. Having a passion and ‘making it visible’ is not enough, your audience must identify with the values you embody and want to communicate. To become a good influencer you have to think strategically:
- Think about the type of image of you that you want to convey. The latter must be consistent with the message you intend to convey.
- Set goals to be achieved.
- Look around. Study current trends in your industry, create new ones, monitor your competitors’ communication and identify your differentiating value.
- Build your editorial plan. Determine when, how, and what to publish based on continuous data analysis.
- Be persistent. There are no easy and immediate results.
Always remember that to be influential within your niche, you need to acquire authority and develop a solid reputation. Showing yourself to be competent and credible in your sector is the condicio sine qua non for capturing the attention of brands with whom you would like to collaborate and for nurturing trust with your followers.
Interview with a green influencer for the environment
To better explore the world of green influencers, we interviewed Federica Gasbarro, an influencer for the environment and biology student aged just 25, who in a short time has captured the attention of many young people, and not only, by exposing herself to the first person in defense of the environment. She has been called the Italian Greta Thunberg by the media, becoming an example for many. Through her social channels, especially Instagram, she raises people’s awareness of environmental issues on a daily basis by posting photos, stories, and short videos with small daily tricks to help improve the health of the environment.
Federica is a bright girl and very simple in her approach to others. This has led many boys and girls, who share her values, to empathize with her.
In this short interview, we asked her what it means to be an influencer for the environment, what is the best way to bring people closer to all that revolves around the world of eco-sustainability, and the contribution that digital can make in communicating environmental issues.
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Who is a green influencer?
A green influencer is a person who shares their green lifestyle and tries to get content across to those who follow them and perhaps inspire them, why not, to a more sustainable lifestyle.
What is the tone of voice that an environmental influencer uses to communicate?
Clearly, this is different from topics other than sustainability, climate change, and so on. They are very meaty topics, sometimes even boring, so you have to try to get the content across but at the same time not bore the listener or follower.
What online channels do you use to raise awareness?
My favorite channel is Instagram where I am also most followed and in which I share my days, green insights, and experiences that take me around the world always related to the topic of climate, and climate change, such as COPs and summits.
What to do to be an environmental influencer?
First of all, one has to inform oneself from recognized scientific sources. After you understand the problem, you can change your lifestyle and at that point, but only at that point, start talking about it in your social channels. Let’s say that people realize when they are not faced with a clear person or one who has not made a certain lifestyle his or her own.
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Three ingredients for a green-friendly culture?
We should aim for cooperation between citizens and institutions. Start in schools and educate the youngest in a healthy lifestyle, who will surely grow up in the right way, and in turn educate the eldest who, not having had the same resources at their disposal, find themselves making unwilling mistakes.
How to gain authority and reputation online?
With concrete actions. Words teach but examples drag and then only by behaving in accordance with what is said does one gain authority.
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