Gen Z, the eco-conscious generation, is switching to a meaningful lifestyle that aligns with its core values. They are tired of the luxury brands, social media, and the over-consumption of products and information that negatively impact their well-being. As a result, luxury brands face a challenge in attracting and retaining the engagement of this new generation. According to Sophie Maxwell, ‘the traditional prestige associated with luxury brands is being replaced by a new set of values driven by Gen Z, including inclusivity, sustainability, transparency, technology, and circular innovation.‘
Gen Z’s commitment to sustainable living is evident through their concern for climate change and their conscious choices in consumption. They are mindful of the products they buy, the clothes they wear, and the items they use, making sustainability a cornerstone of their lifestyle. This generation’s impact on sustainability practices is undeniable; they are not just followers but move-makers in driving a new wave of sustainable living practices.
Understanding Gen Z’s values and attitudes towards sustainability
For companies that want to serve this generation it’s essential to better comprehend their eco-conscious mindset. Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is the most diverse and digitally connected generation in history, as highlighted by Jodie Shaw from Kadence International. This generation is well aware of the consequences of human actions on climate change, pollution, and plastic waste. A study conducted by Alec Tyson and his team at Pew Research Center shows report that ‘Genzers and Millennials are talking more about the need for action on climate change, actively seeking climate change content online, and engaging in activities such as volunteering and attending rallies and protests to address the issue.‘
Gen Z’s innovative approach to sustainable living
Gen Z wholeheartedly embraces sustainability as a lifestyle; it’s not just a passing trend. Shaw reveals that ‘82% of Gen Z express concern about the state of the planet, and 72% have already changed their behavior to reduce their environmental impact.’ They actively seek change and use social media and online platforms to drive their eco-conscious agenda. This fearless generation is committed to their values, demonstrated by their preference for spending on sustainable and environmentally friendly products, even if it means paying a higher price.
The overwhelming influence of technology and information
The digital age has enabled Gen Z to stay informed, but it also exposes them to an overwhelming amount of information. Helena French from Imagen Insights points out that Gen Z’s relationship with activism is acknowledged and celebrated by the generation itself. Constant exposure to social issues and events through social media, news sites, and TV fuels their anxiety. According to Megan Carnegie from BBC.com, ‘the internet has inspired 34% of 8-to-17-year-olds to take action about a cause and 43% believe that it makes their voices matter.‘ Unlike previous generations who relied on traditional media, Gen Z consumes content around social issues constantly, leading them to be more active in seeking change.
Gen Z’s impact on corporate practices
Gen Z’s demand for sustainability and environmental accountability has forced brands and companies to adapt. Brands are now required to take leadership roles in sustainability and environmental issues while being held accountable for their impact on the world. Gen Z’s demands have led to significant changes in business strategies and practices. An example of this is eBay’s successful entry into the luxury market. ‘The brand’s Luxury Exchange pop-up in New York invited shoppers to have their luxury goods appraised and valued, which they could then use to purchase items from the platform’s top luxury sellers, including Bottega Veneta and Cartier.’ Businesses that practice sustainability are benefiting from increased customer loyalty, cost savings, improved brand reputation, and attracting and retaining employees. IKEA serves as an exemplary case, with a commitment to becoming climate positive by 2030 and implementing a range of sustainability initiatives, such as using renewable energy and sourcing sustainable materials.
To continue on this path of sustainability, it is essential to be honest about what we want from brands and companies. We must remain committed to our values and work with brands that align with our eco-conscious aspirations. As Gen Z leads the way in redefining sustainable living, they challenge luxury brands and the entire business world to step up and embrace a more eco-friendly and inclusive future.
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