Millennials Are Paving The Way For Sustainability

  • 6 years ago
  • 4 Minutes to Read

Millennials are the most sustainability-conscious generation to date, and for the most part, they admirably prioritise purpose over profit.


According to a study conducted by Cone Communications on Millennial employee engagement, they highlighted that three-quarters of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. Likewise, Deloitte and Nielson have found that Millennial shoppers would be willing to spend more on products and services that are seen to be from socially responsible brands.


As a result of this, brands and organisations are having to change the way in which they conduct themselves; it is no longer ‘business as usual’. In order to stay in favour with the Millennial market, purpose-driven strategies are forcing companies to think about future sustainability and what adds value to both people and the planet, rather than just the companies economic bottom line.

The ‘companies that do good, do well’ saying has never been so apparent, here are just a few facts to back this up:


Millennials Care About Their Food


Millennials care about where their food has been sourced from and want to eat wholesome and healthy options on demand. From free-range eggs to a crackdown on food sourced outside of the country they’re from, Millennials try to go the extra mile to fuel themselves.

They are also acting as the driving forces behind sustainable packaging trends, preferring to buy ‘healthy, convenient foods packaged sustainably’ Tetra Pak revealed in a study. This study showed that there has been declines in prepared tinned soup consumption as 75% of Millennials prefer soup in cartons for their recycling benefits, with a major uplift in vegware containers in food outlets due to their biodegradable qualities.

Millennials are more health conscious and as a result, seeking out ‘food from organic or local sources instead of food produced through pollution-intense agricultural practices’ (Credit Suisse).

Millennials have been the force behind campaigns like ‘The Last Straw Movement‘ and it’s of constant topic online and around dinner tables, about the frustrations of not being able to buy products without having undesired single-use plastic packaging associate to their purchases.

Enviral explored what Bulk Market, London’s first plastic-free supermarket went through to set up their business via Episode 2 of The Goods Podcast, delving into the rising numbers of consumers who are wanting to buy from companies who share their desire for low waste options.


Millennials Seek Out Fashion Offering More Transparency

It’s been nearly 5 years since the Rana Plaza disaster, in which 1,135 garment workers were killed and thousands were injured when a building collapsed in Dhaka. This tragedy brought back the light on the cost of fast fashion in poor working conditions.

Although previously obsessed with ‘fast fashion’, Millennials increasingly spending their money on long-lasting, sustainable fashion due to the growing awareness of supply chains and transparency. As a result of this fashion houses have had to make an effort to practice better conditions, and brands are increasing their missions to maintain continuously improved conditions and commitments.

Active steps to show social responsibility such as fair cotton labels and standards are been taken, and many companies who survived the last recession saw that consumers were willing to spend their income on quality that lasts, rather than disposable items.

Recently, Finisterre – the leading ethical clothing company from the U.K became B Corp certified, whilst opening up new stores around the country – continuing their trailblazing efforts to show fashion can be both responsible and profitable. However, truth be told – the majority of the clothing industry could do much better to increase their efforts.


Millennials, Workforces and Social Responsibility

Employee engagement is a tricky subject for Millennials and Gen Z. In the past it would be rare for employees to have more than a couple of jobs in their lifetime. Now it’s common for ‘twenty-somethings’ to try a good handful of jobs before they’re 30. The disposable nature of jobs can be a headache for employers, but an organisation’s commitment to responsible business practice is one of the highest deciding factors when it comes employment decision making by Millennials. Therefore to attract, and to retain quality young talent it’s important to take CSR seriously – and to communicate your sustainability efforts when recruiting.

Many small to medium-sized enterprises think that it’s only large businesses that have the luxury to cherry pick talent, however 75% of millennials would take a pay cut if it meant they could work for a more socially responsible company, meaning that growing companies and start-up’s who have purpose engrained into their  culture and business models still very much have the ability to get the cream of the talent crop.


Ultimately, Grace Farraj, SVP, Public Development & Sustainability at Nielsen says it best; “Brands that establish a reputation for environmental stewardship among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunity to not only grow market share, but build loyalty among the power-spending Millennials of tomorrow, too…”

Brands should take note of this moving forward and the fact of the matter is, moving towards a more sustainability-focused world, is essentially moving towards a wholeheartedly better one.

Don’t hesitate to get involved with the range of value-added content available for free on our ‘Campus’ section of our website and social media channels, and get in touch if your business wants to take sustainability seriously and communicate with the every growing sustainability-focused markets.


Written by
Joss Ford