U.S. Millennials More Committed To Sustainability: Cox Enterprises Report

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The Millennial Generation, or Gen Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X—most researchers use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s for this group. There is a shared view that Millennials are more aware of society's many challenges than previous cohorts, are looking for a broader social purpose, and, in America, they are now the most populous generation. Cox Enterprises has released the results of its second annual Cox Conserves Sustainability Survey, which finds that these American Millennials lead the way for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in future conversations, and in efforts around conservation, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

The survey, commissioned by Cox Enterprises, examines sustainability opportunities and challenges for SMBs. It found that this demographic group is more informed, energetic and passionate about implementing sustainable business practices. Overall, this generation is more committed to increasing sustainability, with nearly 60 percent focused to increasing sustainable activities in their businesses, which is significantly higher than the 49 percent of Baby Boomers, who are more likely to be the top decision makers.

The top findings show that these Millennials have a huge appetite for sustainability and will drive adoption for these practices. They have a greater knowledge about sustainability than other generations, with 80 percent of those surveyed indicating that they have at least a fair amount of knowledge. This group also has a keen interest in implementing sustainable business practices, yet believe that in their current roles, they lack the influence needed to effect change. Only 27 percent in management roles believe that they have a great deal of influence on their organisation’s sustainability practices. The top decision makers in SMBs, such as owners and partners, are more likely to be Boomers.

Taking things a step further, the latest issue of the Corporate Social Responsibility Guidebook, Vol. 6 points out that while many brands and organisations are just beginning to figure out Millennials, Gen-Z will be a group that can be harder to cater to and to understand. It’s a generation that has high expectations, for itself and the brands to which it pledges loyalty. These ‘screen-agers’ make fast decisions and move on to the next thing.

Gen-Z will be the smartest and most-educated generation, who will closely look at a company’s social responsibility agenda. They gravitate towards opportunities that allow them to feel as though they are collaborating with a brand to create change or as though a shared experience with a friend will help connect the world. Gen-Z is committed to making the world a better place than they found it, demanding the same of everyone else. It is a generation made for this world. Probably, one of the best things business owners and leaders of businesses can do is to listen thoughtfully to this younger group, giving them an opportunity to make a positive difference to the world around us. 

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