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Sustainability Myth #7: Gen Z is Driving Sustainable Change

It is very true that Gen Zers are concerned about the world they are inheriting, but that fact that they will drive sustainable change versus other generations remains to be seen. Gen Zers are certainly vocal on social media about sustainability issues, but their digital selves don’t always match what they do in the real world. According to Eastman’s consumer research, less than 1 in 5 U.S. Gen Zers (18%) say they do everything they can to purchase sustainable products, significantly lower than older generations. 

Insight professionals have an opportunity to position themselves as the thought leaders of Gen Z within their companies, helping steer stakeholders in the right direction when it comes to building long-term relationships with Gen Z. Focusing on sustainability is only part of the answer, the other part is finding creative ways to help Gen Z live the sustainable lifestyle they are hoping to achieve (or pretending to live on Tik Tok).

According to Eastman, more than 7 in 10 Gen Zers are worried that environmental issues will impact their future and another 43% say their concerns about the environment have impacted their mental health. With eco-anxiety high, a more frustrating challenge for Gen Z is figuring out how they can solve these challenges. More than half of Gen Zers say they feel a lot of pressure to live a sustainable lifestyle and more than two-thirds say brands need to do more to help them live a sustainable lifestyle. The big question insight professionals should be asking their companies is, “how can we as a company help Gen Zers live a more sustainable lifestyle?”

For Eastman, our solution to helping Gen Zers (and all generations) live a more sustainable lifestyle is through our Molecular Recycling technologies that take hard to recycle plastics back down to their molecular building blocks to create brand new plastic products that don’t compromise on performance or quality. When educated on the concept, Gen Zers understand how this solution can help solve the waste crisis, help the planet, and help them achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. 

Having been shaped by uncertain economic conditions, a pandemic, environmental issues being taught at an early age, and having their entire lives documented on social media, Gen Zers will bring fresh challenges and opportunities to brands and retailers around the world. Some companies will fail, others will emerge, and some will transform themselves to meet the needs of this generation. At the heart of these successful strategies should be insight professionals providing clarity and direction on how to help Gen Zers achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. If you are successful, Gen Z may just be the driver of sustainable change we are all hoping for.

Click here for Justin Coates’ series for All Things Insights, “Exploring 10 Myths About Global Consumers & Sustainability.”

Contributor

  • Justin Coates

    Justin Coates is Eastman’s Head of Global Market Research & Consumer Insights, responsible for leading business intelligence, customer experience, user experience, foresighting, and consumer insights across Eastman. Before joining Eastman in 2017, Coates spent a decade at Cotton Incorporated managing their global consumer insights research and positioning himself as a thought leader on consumer trends with the world’s largest brands and retailers. He holds a Masters of Economics degree from North Carolina State University and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science from High Point University. Coates lives with his wife and son in Kingsport, Tennessee.

    View all posts

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