As we face record-setting temperatures across the globe this summer, organizations large and small will be challenged address the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on their business growth trajectories. Today’s youth, Generation Z, are deeply concerned about climate change and environmental protection. This cohort represents $143 billion in spending power and bring eco-conscious values to their purchasing decisions and brand affiliations.
For C-suite leaders and small business owners, developing an authentic sustainability strategy is crucial for earning Gen Z’s long-term trust and loyalty. Superficial greenwashing won’t suffice. You must approach sustainability substantively, and with accountability. Here are three best practices for integrating sustainability in a way that resonates with Generation Z:
1.Set Ambitious Corporate Climate Goals
Analyze your carbon footprint across operations. Establish targets for waste and emissions reductions aligned to climate science, then enlist all business units in creating action plans.
Join industry coalitions pursuing net zero commitments. Advocate for climate policies and renewable energy – locally and globally. Demonstrate systematic commitment by reporting progress transparently.
2.Embed Sustainability Across the Brand
Infuse eco-messaging consistently through marketing touchpoints - packaging, advertising, social media, website, partnership. Feature diverse voices and support local communities.
Make sustainable options the default for customers by innovating to eliminate waste throughout the supply chain. Investigate circular production models.
3.Walk the Walk Inside Your Own Walls
Before engaging externally, evaluate internal sustainability practices. Provide climate education for all employees, not just operations or manufacturing teams. Set green office/plant policies limiting waste, energy use and resources.
Incentivize sustainable employee commutes through public transit and car-pooling credits. And remote work has been found to significantly reduce pollution, energy use and traffic.
The Bottom Line
For Generation Z, commitment to sustainability can be a make-or-break factor in purchasing and employment decisions. With courage and accountability, climate-driven business practices will generate resilience, innovation, and affinity with the next generation. By dedicating focus and resources to environmental issues, businesses can help strengthen society while future-proofing their brand relevance.
Cheryl A. Seraile is an Omni-channel Marketing & Strategy Maven, with a passion for uncovering new trends and insights about consumers, demographics, culture and the world.