YouTube is to a certain degree a reflection of our culture. Emerging moods in our society are often reflected in the creative output of our daily media. Eco-friendly brands and “clean” products have been gaining traction with consumers, who are now turning to YouTube as they look to make sense of this burgeoning category and in order to live a more sustainable life. Read on to learn more about the upcoming sustainability trend on YouTube.
Some events like the Earth Day, we reported a few weeks ago, are focusing the world’s attention on our planet and environment for one day a year, but people championing protection of the environment through living a more sustainable lifestyle is something we can see every day on channels like YouTube.
Whether it’s the popularity of Lil Dicky’s recent top trending video Earth which got about 145 million views, the spread of Greta Thunberg’s message about environmental responsibility at COP24 in Poland that caused a global student walkout protest or the creation of content related to Sustainable Fashion, Clean Beauty, Zero Waste and other sustainable and ecological trends – Sustainability appears to be gaining traction as a topic of interest on YouTube.
Top 3: Trends on Sustainable Topics on YouTube:
Many people are beginning to take a closer look at what they are wearing nowadays. They don’t want just to look good and wear trendy clothes, they make sure to examine its potential impact on the environment. So called “sustainable fashion haul videos”, videos where customers showcase clothes they have bought that are ethically produced, are just one example. While hauls have been published exclusively in the fashion community on YouTube for years, many video creators began uploading sustainable hauls as a response to criticism from their viewers, urging them to be more environmentally responsible.
“In fact, we saw a year over year 190% increase in uploads of videos related to ‘hauls’ with ‘sustainable’ in the title [….] and a 13x increase in views of those videos in 2018.” Earnest Pettie, YouTube 
The fashion companies themselves are also under pressure to make the move. These companies should continue to make a voluntary contribution to ecological and social sustainability in the future. They are encouraged to uncover and eliminate social grievances and to implement environmentally friendly processes in their operational cycles. A progressive demographic change on the side of consumers but also of society is urging the textile industry and clothing companies to take this responsibility seriously and to position their operations accordingly. And they use the uprising trend on YouTube as the following example of Adidas and Parley for the Ocean shows:
Designing one’s own look “sustainably” does not stop with clothing. A similar trend that has been emerged recently, especially for the younger target group, is “Clean Beauty”. Clean beauty is the idea that people should use makeup comprised of non-toxic, ethically sourced materials. Since the EU has banned 1.328 chemicals from cosmetics , it’s not surprising that many customers are beginning to wonder how to find cosmetics that are produced conscientiously. Big proponents of this trend include some major brands, supporting and featuring celebrities and influencers, promoting their new clean beauty products on YouTube.
Source: Allana Davison – Clean Beauty on YouTube (2018)
“Views for videos related to sustainable living that provide tips for leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle doubled in 2018 compared to 2017.” Earnest Pettie, YouTube
These sustainable living videos instruct the viewers in living a more sustainable life by showing them which products they can use or replace to reduce the amount of waste they produce. The most-viewed of these, with 1.2 million clicks, is the video from Edgy Veg “20 ways to reduce waste”.
In contrast to zero-waste videos, which might help with the things that you have at home, there are those on YouTube who have revolutionized how we think about homes. There’s a broad community of #Vanlife channels who stand for a simple life in a van or in tiny homes, renounce all luxury goods and replacing them with ecologically friendly products. By sharing their lives in these unorthodox homes, these creators are able to proclaim a more sustainable lifestyle while also sharing the tips and tricks that are necessary for them to lead their minimalistic lives.
Giving an example: Over 400K subscribers follow the adventures of Jinty Fell as her family travels across Australia in a van. The channel exemplifies this movement dedicated to reducing one’s footprint by living economically, by reducing one’s possessions using only the space one needs to live.
All these above mentioned new types of videos and the upcoming interest in sustainability topics emphasize today’s consumer behaviors that are more than just a trend – they seem to be established in our society. People are going green in big ways and small, and it’s all playing out on YouTube.
Support by DFGE
The DFGE has been supporting companies in their sustainability efforts since 1999 and has extensive expertise in CSR reporting and accounting. With customized service packages, the DFGE advises companies based on their individual needs, regardless of the sector they operate. The DFGE is supporting the above mentioned Fashion Industry, which has to struggle with major challenges as well as the Automotive Sector, Chemical Industry and lots of others. We assist you in the materiality analysis, in the data and key figures collection as well as in the complete creation of e.g. GRI report. For more details in this context, please see the GRI project page as well as the latest project proposal for the review of GRI Waste Disclosures. If you have any questions related to this topic or any other requests, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 08192-99733-20.
 Earnest Pettie, YouTube (2019): Blogpost Quarterly YouTube Trends Snapshot: Sustainability Culture, Online, URL: http://youtube-trends.blogspot.com/2019/04/quarterly-youtube-trends-snapshot.html (retrieved 21.06.2019).
 YouTube LLC (2019): Monthly views of haul-related videos on YouTube with the term „sustainable“ in title, 2017-2018, online, URL: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p-b5Nt0q-vY/XLir2bFVPfI/AAAAAAAAAEI/91YMLycwKhcps_yv7N5r0ruOO-3PnndsACLcBGAs/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2019-04-17%2Bat%2B5.06.20%2BPM.png (retrieved 21.06.2019)
 Adidas / YouTube (2016): adidas x Parley – From threat into thread, Online, URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iisMyJdkyqg (retrieved 21.06.2019).
 European Commission (2019): Sector Cosmetics, Online, URL: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/cosmetics/ (retrieved 21.06.2019).