Millennials want companies to have a positive impact on the environment.
By Arlene Karidis
Dec. 5, 2017
Millennials tend to prioritize buying from companies they believe have environmentally sustainable practices, and they are doing their homework to determine which companies they most trust, according to new research findings.
Increasingly, brands are seizing on this consumer behavior, boosting messaging, and sometimes changing how business is done to attract this cohort.
Many retailers and manufacturers are posting sustainability practices on line, where Millennials spend much of their time. These firms are securing third-party certifications to show authenticity. And some are sponsoring environmental projects to engage youth, as well as to impress on consumers that the firms exemplify the same values as this generation of consumers.
The Shelton Group, a marketing communications agency, recently released a report based on a survey of 1,000 Millennials across the U.S., showing 70 percent said a company’s environmental focus impacts their purchasing decisions. They believe large companies especially can have positive impact.
“Millennials state they see potential for these corporations to improve sustainability on a larger scale than they feel they could do individually. Meanwhile, companies have revised their communications to consumers, and Millennials are paying attention,” says Virginia Vowell, senior research analyst for Shelton Group.
When asked the top three actions companies could take to earn their trust, the leading answer was to address environmental problems inherent in the manufacturing of products. That could be by reducing packaging or addressing how manufacturing processes affect water and air quality.
With regard to recycling, especially, Millennials are hesitant to trust, according to nonprofit Keep America Beautiful (KAB).
“We know that they have a greater level of skepticism than the general public—10 percent more. Because of this skepticism, reinforcing what recyclable materials can become when recycled is a priority message that we want to deliver to Millennials,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful.
“Keep America Beautiful believes we [including businesses] need to reach Millennials ‘where they live,” by communicating about the benefits of recycling through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as a first step in raising awareness.”