If you’ve been reading my blogs for some time, you’d know that Gen Z loves sustainability-driven companies. This, of course, is having profound effects on our economy, as the digital natives are currently morphing our economy into a social-capitalist system. So, what big name brands am I referring to? Levi Strauss & Co., Spotify, YouTube, and Beyond Meat. In this blog, I’ll go through why Gen Z is loyal to these companies, and most importantly, how enterprises can apply these lessons learned
1. Levi Strauss & Co
Levi’s has always been a Gen Z-forward company. If you’ll recall, in 2018, the company piloted a “Gen Z Concept Store” in the Netherlands. As per the company itself, “The Levi’s® store is designed to be the ultimate destination for Rotterdam’s thriving youthful and fashion-savvy community with the latest and greatest from the Levi’s® brand’s collections. Consumers can interact with the brand via an in-store social media newsfeed, an Instagram-able area and fitting rooms with fun wallpapers designed from the LS&Co. Archives for social sharing. It also offers a space to hang out with friends, get inspired and have fun.” Not only that, but Levi’s has pioneered the fashion industry with its environmental approach, launching sustainable collections such as WellThread™ clothing which is made in “Worker Well-Being facilities with rain-fed Cottonized Hemp, Water<Less® technologies and as many recycled materials as we can. And every thread is designed to be recycled.” With all of this in mind, it’s not hard to see why Gen Z love’s Levi’s.
Key Takeaway: own sustainability throughout every part of your business operational process.
According to statistics from a survey conducted by Spotify:
84% of Gen Z parents in the U.S. said music is a way they bond with their kids
70% of young Gen Z in the U.S. said listening to their parents’ music gives them a better sense of who their parents are
54% of American Gen Z’s said they’re turning to podcasts more often to stay informed or entertained
For Gen Z, music and podcasting can be seen as a mechanism that can build a stronger bond with friends, family and colleagues. Thus, Spotify serves in line with the Gen Z human-centric approach. Moreover, according to Spotify’s Sustainability & Social Impact Report 2018, the company’s sustainability strategy is “grounded in an holistic view of sustainability and social impact. We recognize that our social responsibilities extend to every aspect of our business, covering everything from our internal hiring processes to our role in publicly advocating for positive change. Our strategy is reflected in the structure of this report, which outlines our approach to sustainability in three areas — our people, our practices and our platform.”
Key Takeaway: Prioritize human-centricity and a greater mission of social impact
YouTube is one of the most popular platforms amongst Gen Z. The democratization of information via YouTube makes it a top use case for Gen Z learning mechanisms and education. “According to Ipsos, 80% of Gen Z teens say YouTube has helped them become more knowledgeable about something. 68% say YouTube has helped them improve or gain skills that will help them prepare for the future.” (Source: Think With Google). YouTube falls into the sustainability category, as it is a form of “knowledge sustainability”. In other words, the platform’s embrace of environmentalism and social impact enables sustainable education on a wide scale.
Key Takeaway: Implement wide-scale sustainability education initiatives and awareness campaigns
4. Beyond Meat
Last but not least, we have Beyond Meat. But first, some background information: According to a Forbes post,
“Sixty-five percent of Gen-Z find plant-based foods appealing and 75 percent say they are cutting down on meat consumption. Gen-Z’s championing of veganism is a phenomenon that knows no regional bounds or borders. Findings in the United States point to 79 percent of Gen-Z’s being “eager to go meatless” a few times a week, with 60 percent happily reporting they’re ready to base their diets on more “plant-forward foods.” America hardly stands alone. A study by the UK’s BOL Foods finds veganism is skyrocketing in popularity among the European Gen-Z’s, with a quarter of 18-24 year olds reporting that they’ve become vegan over the last year, and 35 percent stating that they’re actively seeking out a “vegan partner” for dating.”
It's easy to see that Gen Z are big proponents of the sustainable food and veganism movement. Beyond Meat happens to be one of Gen Z’s favorite companies. Back in Oct. 6, 2020, analysts believed that Gen Z’s optimism for the plant-based market helped Beyond Meat lift its stock. “Tuesday, Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery increased his price target for Beyond Meat stock by 37%, from $130 to $178, citing research indicating members of Gen Z like plant-based protein more than the rest of us. That bodes well for growth at Beyond Meat.”
Key Takeaway: Food businesses should begin to seriously consider sustainable vegan options
The economy of tomorrow is more and more reflecting the sentiment and consumer preferences of Gen Z and younger generations. Enterprises ought to amend their current offerings in line with the sustainable approach if they are to succeed in the new economic environment.