Instagram influencers who care about environmental topics

Nick Baklanov

Marketing specialist at HypeAuditor. Connect on Linkedin.

Social media platforms such as Instagram are powerful technologies for social change, since they allow people to connect with each other independent of place and space and reach a broader population with their message. 

A picture is worth 1,000 data points, and Instagram images can have a compelling, persuasive impact that may inspire others to act on an important issue like climate change. 

We conducted a mixed-method analysis of Instagram influencers who cares about environmental topics.

We divided influencers into groups based on keywords in their profile description:

  • Climate change,
  • Zero Waste,
  • Plastic Free,
  • Sustainable living.

Separately we analyzed instagram account of Greta Thunberg.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Zero waste and Sustainable living are the most popular eco themes for instagram influencers of four topics that have been studied.
  2. All topics except Climate change have more female influencers, than male.
  3. Core audience of eco influencers are women between 18 and 34 years old.
  4. The USA and The UK have the largest number of eco influencers.
  5. Influencers from Climate change niche have the biggest average ER among all eco influencers, but still their ER is lower than The Worldwide average.
  6. Greta Thunberg is the most influential environmental activist in the world.

Instagram influencers in Climate Change topic

Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Number of influencers: 209

Keywords in bio: climatechange,climate change,climate strike, climatecrisis, climateaction ,climateactivism, climate activist

Distribution of Climate Change influencers by Tiers

We break down influencers into four main influencer tiers by the number of Instagram followers:
Mega-influencers & Celebrities (over 1M followers)
Macro-influencers (100K – 1M followers)
Micro (5K-20K followers) and
Mid-tier influencers (20K-100K followers)
Nano-influencers (1K-5K followers)

50% of influencers in Climate Change niche are Mid-tier influencers with followers between 5 and 20K.



Climate Change influencer’s profile: age & gender

Core influencers in Climate Change are men aged between 25 and 34 years old.




Climate Change Influencer’s Country

The majority of influencers in Climate Change niche are from the United States (33%)




Climate Change Influencer’s audience

Total audience of 209 influencers from Climate Change niche is 3 933 902 followers.

Core audience are male and female between 18 and 34 years old.


Climate Change Influencer’s engagement rate

Engagement rate is the percent of the audience who likes or comments on the posts (engages with the content).

On the graph you can see a comparison of average engagement rate of influencers from climate change niche and the average ER worldwide. ER of influencers with number of followers between 5K and 20K is greatly higher than average worldwide. 

High engagement rate shows that Instagram users are more engaged in the influencers content.

Top mentions



Instagram influencers in Zero Waste topic


Zero Waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.

Number of influencers: 690

Keywords in bio:

zero waste, zerowaste ,nowaste, 0waste, goingzerowaste, minimalwaste, zerowasteliving , lowwastelifestyle, zerowastelife, zeroemission



 Distribution of Zero Waste Influencers by Tiers

45.2% of influencers in Zero Waste niche are Mid-tier influencers with followers between 5 and 20K and 42.5% of influencers are Micro-influencers with followers between 1 and 5K..


View this post on Instagram

Wiecie, że od kilku lat promuję picie kranówki i uważam, że to kranówka jest najlepszym rozwiązaniem dla nas i środowiska.  Ale… jestem w mniejszości – w to, że woda z kranu jest zdrowa, wątpi aż 60% Polaków… ? Co to w rzeczywistości oznacza? ⠀ Efekt jest taki, że przeciętne gospodarstwo domowe kupuje w skali roku niemal 220 litrów wody butelkowanej (*badanie GFK). 220 litrów❗. Wiecie, ile Polacy wydają rocznie na szklanki z wodą w restauracjach, barach etc., które są sprzedawane za 5 zł albo i więcej? 1,3 mln złotych. No sorry, ale to jest postawione na głowie, bo wzorem innych miast europejskich powinniśmy w restauracjach pić kranówkę. Tymczasem w Warszawie i wielu innych miastach realny koszt jednego litra kranówki to około jednego grosza. Czemu więc tak chętnie zamawiamy i kupujemy wodę w plastiku za wielokrotnie wyższą kwotę? Po prostu wątpimy w jej jakość. Tutaj na pewno potrzebujemy jeszcze więcej edukacji i działań w kierunku popularyzacji kranówki. ⠀ U mnie kiedyś było tak, że do gotowania przysłowiowego rosołu używałam wody butelkowanej, a małej Apolonii na początku jej drogi z BLW (czyli Bobas Lubi Wybór – dziecko samo wybiera, co je), kupowałam specjalną wodę dla dzieci w butelce plastikowej. Co w tej wodzie było specjalnego, nie wiem do dzisiaj ?‍♀️. Dzisiaj jednak to kranówka u nas króluje i nie wychodzimy z domu bez bidonów. Od kilku miesięcy korzystam z bidonów Nalgene @nalgene_pl, marki która zaprosiła mnie do współpracy. Kilka bidonów dostałam do testów już w lutym i zabieram je wszędzie (towarzyszyły nam nawet podczas wielkanocnego śniadania w przyczepie w lesie) i świetnie sprawdzają się na naszych wycieczkach w naturę i podczas pobytów na działce – lekkie, łatwe do czyszczenia, bez BPA. Dlaczego nie szklane? Nie sprawdziły mi się – wszystkie, które miałam, stłukły się. Dlatego wybieram te z plastiku, akurat butelki od Nalgene są z tritanu, który trochę wygląda jak szkło, ale nic z nim się nie dzieje po upadku na ziemię. Myślę, że starczą nam na lata. Na outdoorzy.pl macie 10% rabatu na hasło "ekopaulinagorska". ⠀ A Wy pijecie wodę z kranu? Czy zawsze tak było? Jeśli tak, co Was przekonało do zmiany? ⠀ #współpraca #pijęwodęzkranu

A post shared by Paulina Górska (@eko.paulinagorska) on



Zero Waste influencer’s profile: age & gender

Core influencers in Zero Waste niche are women aged between 25 and 34 years old.



Zero Waste Influencer’s country

The majority of influencers in Zero Waste niche are from the United States (18%).



Zero Waste Influencer’s audience

Total audience of 690 influencers from Zero Waste niche is 6 991 529 followers. Core audience are female between 18 and 34 years old.

 Zero Waste Influencer’s engagement rate

Engagement rate is the percent of the audience who likes or comments on the posts (engages with the content).

On the graph you can see a comparison of average engagement rate of influencers from zero waste niche and the average ER worldwide. ER of influencers with number of followers between 20K and 100K and 100K-1M  is greatly higher than average worldwide. High engagement rate shows that Instagram users are more engaged in the influencers content.

Top Mentions


Climate change influencers made 39 mentions of @climateaction


Climate change influencers made 35 mentions of @gretathunberg


Climate change influencers made 39 mentions of @fridaysforfuture


Instagram influencers in Plastic Free topic

Plastic never bio-degrades so every piece ever made lasts forever! Massive quantities of disposable plastic pose a serious threat to our health and future generations.

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems we face as a species. Petroleum based plastics pollute the air, water, and food. The Plastic Free Challenge is an effort to demonstrate to the world that we do not need to rely on disposable plastics. 

Number of influencers: 362

Keywords in bio:

plasticfree, packagefree, plasticpollution, plasticpollutes, plasticalternative, nomoreplastic, low impact



 Distribution of Plastic Free Influencers by Tiers

50.6% of influencers in Plastic Free niche are Mid-tier influencers with followers between 5 and 20K.





Plastic Free Influencer’s profile: age & gender 

Core influencers in Plastic Free niche are women aged between 25 and 34 years old.



Plastic Free Influencer’s country

The majority of influencers in Plastic Free niche are from the United States (20%) but there is also a large amount of influencers from the United Kingdom (17%).

Plastic Free Influencer’s audience

Total audience of 362 influencers from Plastic Free niche is 5 189 367  followers. Core audience are female between 18 and 34 years old.

Plastic Free Influencer’s engagement rate

Engagement rate is the percent of the audience who likes or comments on the posts (engages with the content).

On the graph you can see a comparison of average engagement rate of influencers from plastic free niche and the average ER worldwide. ER of influencers with number of followers between 100K and 1M  is higher than average worldwide. 

High engagement rate shows that Instagram users are more engaged in the influencers content.

Top Mentions


View this post on Instagram

Newspaper plant pots are great for growing seedlings and then can be planted straight into the ground. All you need is several sheets if newspaper and a cylindrical shaped object such as this tapered cup (thanks @jackjohnson). Take 2-3 sheets of newspaper, lay it out flat on a table, then fold up the bottom third lengthways, and fold it up again, so you now have triple thickness. These instructions from @gardeningaustralia factsheet. We planted parsley seeds collected from one plant last year. Fresh herbs are often packaged in plastic so growing your own can save lots of packaging. Lay the cup over the folded newspaper, so the open end of the cup sits about two thirds of the way up the paper.  The overhanging third of the paper will fold inside the cup, so position the cup so the neat, single fold will wrap around the cup and the loose ends will be tucked inside. Roll the paper around the cup – no too tightly or it will be hard to remove the cup Try to keep the top of the cup rolling in a straight line Push the loose folded third into the cup and then carefully pull out the cup Use the base of the cup as a tamp to flatten out the folded-in paper, which will form the base of the pot. Sometimes there will be a slight hole left but that’s ok – this will allow for drainage. Secure the loose edge of the paper with a paperclip or a staple. Fill your pot with potting mix and plant.

A post shared by Plastic Free July (@plasticfreejuly) on




Instagram influencers in Sustainable Living topic


Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.
Number of influencers: 709

Keywords in bio:

sustainable living, ethicalfashion, sustainablefashion, consciousconsumer, sustainable fashion, sustainableliving, greenliving, consciousconsumer


View this post on Instagram

⁣ ⁣? introducing my “compostable” cup, which came out of my home compost dirty but unscathed after 6+ months… Are you confused? Me too! Eco labels can be misleading and detrimental to efforts to tackle the plastic crisis. They can take just as long as regular plastic to break down. Let’s attempt to clear things up! BIOPLASTIC = made from organic materials and often PLA (polylactic acid) but it’s still plastic! It is designed to be industrially composted by microbes in a controlled environment. There are several types so bioplastic has become an umbrella term: it can be biobased and biodegradable, or biobased and not biodegradable, or petroleum based and biodegradable BIODEGRADABLE = something that breaks down naturally and can be thrown away without causing pollution. This suggests that nutrients are given back to the soil like with apple cores ⚠️ This term is not regulated ⚠️ Consumers are not informed regarding the time frame required or the impacts of toxic residue from degradation. Biodegradable plastic is usually produced from petrochemicals (obtained from petroleum or natural gas). Biodegradability additives are added to petroleum based products to accelerate the break down process. Anyhow, it is plastic and needs to be processed in an industrial facility COMPOSTABLE means made from plant materials and designed to break into non toxic organic matter within a specific time frame. But compostable products either need the high temperatures of an industrial facility or a home compost. The term is not regulated worldwide (yet? ??) . ➡️ DON’T TRUST LABELS! There are not enough regulations yet. While some companies create home compostable products, all use precious virgin resources. Avoid this. Think reusable not disposable . ➡️ Another problem is the end of life. There is no costumer understanding. Unless it’s clearly labelled as “home compostable”, it is unclear how to dispose of it and it ends up in the wrong bin. In most places, there is no infrastructure availability, which means these disposable products end up in landfills or the environment, just as the plastic plague we intend to avoid

A post shared by Laura | Sustainability ? (@laurainwaterland) on

 Distribution of Sustainable Living Influencers by Tiers

48.9% of influencers in Climate Change niche are Mid-tier influencers with followers between 5 and 20K.


View this post on Instagram

One of my quarantine passions is raising monarch butterflies. This year our milkweed garden bed is established enough that caterpillars overwintered here, and butterflies launched in early February.? .. This spring we have more caterpillars than we ever have before — by several factors. .. Luckily no one will be coming over during quarantine because our dining room and laundry room are filled with caterpillars, egg nurseries and chrysalis. (Hubby not thrilled ?) .. You guys always ask me how did I get the monarchs? Did I buy the eggs? No! I just planted milk weed. Plant it and they will come. Their intelligence is at a level beyond our understanding. I have felt the magic of life and transformation by observing these incredible creatures and all they endure on the journey to metamorphosis. It’s inspiring me during this time. .. Monarch populations have declined 97% in the last 10 years. Last year despite all of our efforts the population continued to decline. I find hope in their ability to adapt (despite the chemicals that kill them and the habitat lost to development). I am grateful that they have decided to live here with me — in the middle of a huge city where nature and its generous force envelops us with life, if we but give it a little patch of soil. (Organic of course LOL!) .. .. #savemonarchs #chemicalfreeyard #raisethemigration #savepollinators #organic #nopesticides #noroundup #dontsprayspiders #pyramidoflife #nature #harmony #vegan #animals

A post shared by Mrs. Sustainable ♻️ (@mrs_sustainable) on


Sustainable Living Influencer’s profile: age & gender


Core audience in Sustainable Living niche are women aged between 25 and 34 years old.



 Sustainable Living Influencer’s country


The majority of influencers in Sustainable Living niche are from the United States (29%).



Sustainable Living Influencer’s audience

Total audience of 709 influencers from Sustainable Living niche is 7 355 051  followers.

Core audience are female between 18 and 34 years old.

Sustainable Living Influencer’s engagement rate

Engagement rate is the percent of the audience who likes or comments on the posts (engages with the content).

On the graph you can see a comparison of average engagement rate of influencers from sustainable living niche and the average ER worldwide. ER of influencers from sustainable living niche is lower than ER worldwide.

Low engagement rate shows that Instagram users are less  engaged with the influencers content.

Top Mentions



Greta Thunberg



Greta Thunberg (born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish teenage environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition.

Number of influencers: 1

Keywords in bio: Climatestrike, fridayisforfuture

After the Greta Thunberg speech on Monday opened the United Nations Climate Action Summit her Instagran account gained 3 260 029 new followers in one week. That made her instagram account one of the fastest growing accounts in the world.

Greta Thunberg account audience

Total audience of Greta Thunberg account is 8.5M  followers.
Core audience are female between 18 and 34 years old.

Greta Thunberg account has more followers than all accounts in any niche combined.

That makes her the most influential environmental activist in the world.

Greta Thunberg’s account engagement rate is 7.85%.

It is almost 3 times that of average ER of influencers’ account from eco niches and 8 times that of average worldwide er for mega-influencers (1.01%).

Audience is highly engaged into Greta’s content and her account can be an effective tool to promote ecological ideas that will be heard not only in the narrow niches like Climate Change (where Greta has 35 mentions) but all over the world.