ESG Monitor reveals “affordable cost of living” a key priority in Germany

January 16, 2023

About the Authors

Isabelle Zirden

Senior Consultant


Leo Keutner

Research & Analysis

In our second annual SEC Newgate ESG Monitor, it was revealed that the most important priorities for the future of Germans were: “affordable cost of living”, “working food supply” and “working energy and fuel supply”.

Crisis in Germany

In Germany in general and in Berlin in particular, the situation is currently tense: The winter is cold, heating costs are enormous, supply chain difficulties and inflation are a burden on many citizens. The war in nearby Ukraine also scares many Germans. Three years after the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, there is still no end in sight to crisis mode.

Increased Awareness of Sustainability

One of the few positive aspects of this crisis is that it seems to be causing an increased aware-ness of sustainability: More and more shops specializing in sustainability are opening and consumers are shopping price-consciously, also giving second-hand items as gifts for Christmas. Meanwhile, second-hand items enjoy a good reputation – especially clothing and textiles, but also electronics and household goods. They are considered more sustainable and economical than buying new ones. This was also recently suggested by a study by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

It fits in with this that the Federal Government recently passed a fundamental resolution on the German Sustainability Strategy, namely to make Germany a sustainable and thus at the same time more resilient country. This is “the best response to the world’s climate, energy and raw materials crises”, writes Chancellor Scholz in the foreword to it. Here, the Chancellor names climate change, species extinction, increasing food insecurity, the effects of the Corona pandemic or the Russian war against Ukraine, and he emphasizes the urgency of action.

SEC Newgate ESG Monitor Reveals New Insights

Therefore, it is not surprising that the results of the annual SEC Newgate ESG Monitor also showed that respondents named the following three issues as the most important priorities for the future of Germany: “affordable cost of living” (39%), “working food supply” (32%) and “working energy and fuel supply” (28%). However, “addressing climate change” and “workers’ rights” were also high priorities for respondents. More than two in five (43%) indicated as a free response option that they believe environmental issues should be a central focus for companies in Germany.

Awareness of Sustainability is increasing in Germany – Need for Action Remains

ESG also plays a role in consumption: On average, respondents in Germany rated the importance of ESG issues in their daily purchasing decisions at 6.0 out of 10 points – a significant increase from 5.6 points in 2021, but below the global average of 6.4 points. Nevertheless, the survey suggests that Germany is on the right track despite the current crisis situation and that its citizens have a good environmental awareness. It is also fitting that after almost four years of negotiations, almost all the countries of the world have agreed on a new treaty to protect nature: The Montreal Agreement aims to stop the extinction of species and the destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems by 2030. Germany is also severely affected by this: About 75 percent of all insects have already disappeared. Environment Minister Lemke is therefore calling for more commitment to species protection – and wants to make billions available for this purpose. Companies should take this development into account and integrate it into their corporate identity if they want to hold their own on the German market in the future.