Gen Z: The greenest generation?

Major global events – like the coronavirus pandemic – have the power to completely transform how we live and work, and the world around us. As a result, these events also have the ability to change our attitudes to the way we spend – especially the generation that comes of age during that period.

Looking at the coronavirus pandemic, it’s Generation Z (those born since 1997) that will be most impacted. In the same way that Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) were impacted by the recession of 2008.

The pandemic and the recession are similar in that they are two major events. However, how they manifested themselves couldn’t be more different, observes an article on Forbes.

In 2008, the recession didn’t hit overnight. Instead, it took more than a year for house prices and stock portfolios to steadily decrease in value. Millennials were left high and dry in terms of career dreams and we all had to think about our lifestyle choices and learn to live with less.

By comparison, the coronavirus pandemic hit us hard and fast. Lockdowns were enforced virtually overnight as workplaces closed their doors, planes stopped taking to the skies, and roads became free of congestion. Many of us had to quickly adapt to working and learning from home, again doing less, spending less, and wasting less.

The coronavirus pandemic is proving to be one of the most disruptive financial events or our times. But while it has created a financial catastrophe for many, it also placed our focus on the environment  – more specifically, our impact on it. We realised how much our actions impacted the world around us, from air pollution to animals being spotted in unexpected places.

The pandemic wasn’t what started the sustainability revolution, but it has certainly placed the issue front of mind and made Gen Z avid advocates.

As we emerge out of lockdowns and restrictions are lifted, the economy is starting to recover. But as it does, Gen Z consumer focus is as much on saving the planet as it is on value for money.

According to a study by First Sight, the majority of Gen Zers would rather buy from sustainable brands. What’s more, they are prepared to pay 10% more for sustainable products. According to the report’s findings, Gen Z and Millennials are the most likely to base purchasing decisions on values and principles – namely personal, social and environmental.

This shift towards sustainability can also be seen in brand activity. For example, sports brands Allbirds and Adidas joined forces to create the world’s most sustainable sports shoe. Meanwhile, Walmart and online second-hand store ThredUp have collaborated to sell pre-owned fashion items from luxury brands such as Anne Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

Where there’s consumer demand for sustainability, there are brands who are keen to follow. But consumers also want authenticity and transparency from those brands. As the findings of one survey concluded: ‘If [brands] are not authentic, Gen Z will be the first to raise a red flag.’

Almost every brand claims to be embracing sustainability, but if they aren’t being truthful in those claims, they risk alienating customers and losing them for good.

How authentic is your approach to sustainability? Find out how Delta can help your marketing activations be genuinely green. Get in touch today –