Consumer behavior today is deeply rooted in personal values, and sustainability is on the top of the list. Studies show that younger generations, especially Millennials and Generation Z, are willing to pay more for products aligning with their values. Consumer brands and retailers need to take this into consideration and act accordingly in order to be considered sustainable businesses. If not done in an authentic and truthful way, conscious consumers will raise a red flag and shop elsewhere.
Values decide which brands and products win
When it comes to shopping, it’s not about finding the lowest price anymore. It’s about finding brands and products that reflect values and identity. Younger generations, including Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) and Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996), are the most likely to make purchase decisions based on values and principles that are personal, social, and environmental. In a study conducted by First Insight, it’s shown that Gen Z is most willing to spend more on sustainable products. Gen Z are now starting to enter the consumer market and they are estimated to account for 40% of luxury purchases by 2035.
A recent article from Facebook IQ regarding sustainability trends, confirms the results of the previous studies discussed. It also shows that younger consumers (aged 18-34) drive the shift in significance of environmental issues. Compared to older generations, Gen Z and Millennials are 1.5x more likely to pay a premium for sustainable products. As a result, the global sustainability market is expected to grow by 24% annually in the next seven years. This is increasing the pressure on retailers and businesses to adapt to the needs of young consumers.
As consumer spending is a big part of the equation, Gen Z also want the companies they work for to be aligned with their values. Failing to address Gen Z’s environmental concerns not only puts a company’s reputation at risk, but also its future workforce.
Companies need to practice as they preach
In order to attract and keep younger generations as costumers, consumer brands and retailers need to take action to meet the needs of their target market and be transparent in their communication.
While many brands are transitioning to a more sustainable business model, some efforts are not truly rooted in sustainable practices. Sustainability-targeted marketing has become increasingly prevalent as companies try to appeal to the Gen Z audience, but their claims are not always true.
This practice of branding a company as environmentally friendly without adopting legitimate sustainable operations is called greenwashing, and it makes shopping for sustainable products difficult. Choosing ethical and environmentally friendly products requires a lot of thought and education, as the messaging might differ from the actual processes and products.
Greenwashing is not a new concept, but younger generations are not going to swallow the sugarcoated message. Gen Z has made it clear that protecting the environment and combating climate change are a priority for them, not only as consumers but also as employees and even as shareholders and voters.
Transparency is key
Transparency is the best way to differentiate between a truly green company and one that is only putting out a nice, green message. When a brand only has a green label or eco-slogan, but doesn’t have the information to back it up, that’s often the biggest giveaway that the company is not truly green.
It’s the companies that make it clear to consumers, what actions they are taking and publish clear reports about sourcing, manufacturing and direct environmental impact, who will win the hearts of conscious consumers – and ultimately contribute good to our planet.
Tip! If you’re doing your research on sustainable businesses, a smart first step to check if the companies are legitimate with their actions is by searching for their Sustainability and ESG (Environmental Social Governance) Reports, to back up a decision.
How to take action in a verifiable way
In order to become a more sustainable business, companies must reshape how they produce and market their products, as well as how they are being responsible for their disposal at the end of the value chain and consumption cycle. Regardless of the industry in which a business operates, the best way to start is to tackle global problems. One such problem being plastic pollution.
There are two simple ways that your business can reduce its plastic usage and become more sustainable:
By reducing the unnecessary production of plastic in the company’s products and operations, recycling, reusing, and developing alternatives.
ESG strategies and sustainability programs can be operated by the company itself. This journey is crucial for companies to become more sustainable and stay relevant in the future. It requires time, effort, money, and most of the time, a deep transformation of the company’s business model. But it is a necessity in order to attract young customers and future talent.
By supporting the recovery of plastic waste in regions of the world that lack infrastructure, as this waste ends up in the environment and in the oceans that we all share.
Plastiks offers an external solution, allowing companies to take immediate and verified actions against plastic pollution, with instant visibility of the positive impact of their actions.
Read more: Learn how Plastiks works in 6 steps
Connect your business with Plastiks
On the Plastiks marketplace, companies and brands acquire PRG (Plastic Recovery Guarantees) NFTs to sponsor recovery projects that help clean the world of plastic. They can then share their positive impact with their community and attract new and conscious customers.
If tackling plastic pollution is a priority in your business, book a meeting with one of our advisors and discover the different ways that you can make a difference with Plastiks and achieve your SDG goals.