Gen Zs want to undo the damage older generations left them.
Increasingly, with every decision they make on a daily basis – the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the way they travel, the things they use, and even the way they consume the most basic essentials like water and energy – sustainability is front of mind.
Young people are reading the labels, fine print, and About pages – who made this? Where did it come from? They’re looking for ticks of approval, whether it’s a B Corp stamp or a smiley face on Good on You. They’re demanding sustainability to be incorporated into university courses. And they’re ready to splash out on social enterprises.
With information at their fingertips about everything that’s wrong with the world, young people are understanding that making such decisions that are kind to people and the planet can change the world.
The S word is a way of life.
This is further confirmed by our Gen Z & Corporate Activism report, where we found that the number one thing that young people would like businesses to do to impact more positively on society and the environment is sustainability (79%).
“Businesses need to learn that Gen Z have a huge impact on everyday spending and that we are way more in tune with wanting the earth to last for our kids and their kids,” a 21-year-old female from NSW said.
“We want the earth and its contents to be better than they are now; more diversity and celebration of diversity, cleaner air, clean water for everyone, no more world hunger or poverty. We aim high and so should everyone else.”
After all, human-made climate change is real, 96% of Gen Zs said.
84% said that these concerns influence their spending. When we asked which sustainability concerns in particular, they told us sustainable packaging (60%), animal welfare (66%), organic products (48%), locally sourced (43%), sustainable production (42%) and working conditions (41%).
Young people are also attuned to gaps in what businesses are promising.
For instance, if you’re a supermarket switching out plastic bags, don’t then go and do this: “Woolworths and Coles campaigns marketing little plastic toys that come in little plastic bags upsets me. It drives home how much these companies just want to make a buck,” an 18-year-old female from Victoria said.
“Our planet is 100% in crisis and in this day and age no one should be supporting these campaigns damaging our planet! I try not to buy from these stores anymore and shop more locally, even though it’s more expensive.”