Gen Zs can see past businesses that tick off yearly CSR goals just by donating X amount of their profits to charity.
“It feels like an attempt to still gain as much money for themselves as possible,” a 21-year-old male from Western Australia said.
Instead, he adds, “Businesses who promise to contribute towards the improvement of social issues, regardless of income, are the ones which are consistently making differences. These are companies which seem more humane and therefore gain my loyalty and interest that much more.”
What they’re referring to is social enterprises, companies that are part-business and part-charity whose main goal is to drive positive social and environmental change. Today, profit and purpose must co-exist.
This is the future: Who Gives A Crap sells ethically made toilet paper, raising funds to build toilets in developing countries; Yume works with farmers and food suppliers to sell excess stock that would’ve been dumped to hospitality businesses; Free to Feed creates employment opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees through cooking experiences.
50% of Gen Zs have bought from social enterprises and 40% haven’t but are interested in buying from them, our Gen Z & Corporate Activism report found.
While these products or services often come at a higher price tag, 86% of Gen Zs said that they are willing to spend more if the business shares their concerns on world issues.
This demand will only get higher with rising social and environmental awareness.
Summarising over 1000 responses from young people, here’s how businesses can get their attention:
- Be vocal about what you care about, why you care about it, and what you’re doing to help. Make it easy for anyone to understand.
- Be transparent about your business practices, such as supply chains, sustainability goals, and progress in achieving them.
- Be up to date with news and innovations, and dare to change and pivot. Join the conversation and attend rallies alongside young people.
- Live your values – if your business tackles mental health, do you genuinely prioritise wellness for staff? If your business tackles the climate crisis, do you encourage a plastic-free workplace?
- Be an authority on the subject matter, educating your community in the form of a podcast, articles, newsletters or social media content.