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Ethics…they sure can be a rare thing in the world. That being said, it is true that the modern demographic of consumers, aka millennials, are demanding for a shift toward more ethical business practices across the board. This ‘switched on’ generation is becoming increasingly savvy, aware, and active when it comes to driving brands to become more socially responsible. This is creating a compounding level of momentum when it comes to corporate policy.
We wouldn’t blame you if you found it a little hard to believe…but, here are some examples of where the influence of millenials has held sway for the greater good…
The global resource market
The thing about millenials is that they are less likely to spend money than previous generations. This might suggest they are better at snagging deals and are more concerned about unnecessary wastage.
For example, they look for the cheapest options when it comes to utilities and other bills, in order to leave money for ‘experiences’ – like eating out and travelling. This means they are more likely to try AGL solar for solar power, as a cheap and environmentally friendly option – developed as a response to Australian Government initiatives within the global resource market.
It’s a fact that corporate social responsibility has become more of a focus in recent years due to the preferences, interests and influence of the millennial generation. The Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report of 215 showed that 66 percent of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable brands, a figure that increased 55 percent from the year before.
It’s said that millennials favour ethical and charitable enterprise far more than any generation before them, and this certainly is reflected in today’s world of business. This means that they are more likely to turn away from companies that are known to use sweatshop labour, contribute to deforestation, test on animals and generally act in blatant favour of profits over ethics. Brands like Burt’s Bees, Method and The Body Shop are prime examples of ‘companies doing good’.
Even fashion chain stores like Cotton On and Supre as part of the Cotton On Group – traditionally known for cheap and fast fashion – changed their tune in recent times to suit the beat of the millenials’ more eco-conscious drum. The ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ was introduced in 2016 in ‘support of Better Cotton farmers, protecting the environment and working for global change’.
The initiative is about sourcing cotton from sustainable suppliers and working with stakeholders (including farmers and retailers) to ‘promote measurable and ongoing improvements to social, environmental and economic issues in cotton-farming communities around the world’. This is a good example of a considerable change in business practice to meet the ideals of a more ‘environmentally conscious’ generation.
Putting social change and charity front and centre has become a more commonplace reality for some modern brands. Take ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s, for example. This gourmet range of ice cream has a brand ethos that of ‘linked prosperity’ between the company and its employees, as well as its own foundation that gives back a high rate of profits to charity – 7.5 percent of pretax earnings.
Ben & Jerry’s provide a great example of corporations becoming more involved in social change. In 2017, local stores celebrated the vote for same-sex marriage in Australia with free ice cream for the public. In the lead up to the plebiscite they also staged a promotion whereby they banned their shops from selling same-flavour scoops, with the slogan – ‘love comes in all flavours’. This is, almost certainly, an example of corporations getting involved in political and social change – a space where they would have been most fearful to tread in previous generations.
The millennial market
The millennial market….it requires a shifted approach when it comes to corporate policy. This takes into consideration the role of business in the global resource market, corporate responsibility, sustainable development, charity and social change. As such, ethics are seen as a commodity rather than a barrier to increased profit. All in all… it’s good news for the greater good.