Why ESG Strategy Needs to Apply to Younger Generations
By Jane Marsh
Businesses across the world will have to address the changes in workplace culture younger people bring to the table, particularly in their values. Nearly 95% of Millennials are interested in investing in sustainable companies that meet environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, such as carbon emissions reduction, diverse leadership, and environmental impact.
As time marches on, the younger generations are taking the world by storm. Millennials and Gen Z account for 46% of full-time employees and this number will continue to grow as the younger members graduate high school and college. Additionally, Baby Boomers are leaving behind their inheritances to their children and grandchildren, leaving a large group of people with investing money.
When hiring these spry go-getters or appealing to them for investments, companies with evident attention to green policies are the most favorable. In future ESG strategies, businesses must engage the influx of young generations on the employment and investing landscape.
Understanding the Sustainable Goals of Millennials and Gen Z
Through the digital landscape, younger generations witness rampant ecological destruction from companies worldwide. Dumping toxic waste into water supplies, releasing smog onto populated cities, and wasting energy in unneeded gargantuan warehouses are all common knowledge at this point.
Prominent journals report on the practices of these companies and social injustices every day. Childhoods populated with warnings of global warming have led these young people to feel strongly about sustainability. The threat of widespread environmental degradation is an especially prevalent fear for Gen Z and Millennials, fitting in the top two concerns for both groups, right after the cost of living.
Furthermore, young people have been burned by a lack of transparency. A marketing strategy called greenwashing plays off of clean and sustainable living to hide the lack of environmentally-friendly company practices. These people are trying to invest in spaces where they can help their planet, but misinformation and hidden truths ruin the experience — and the Earth — for everyone.
Engaging Young Generations
Gathering younger generations into the fold is critical as they advance their careers, so businesses must do everything possible to engage with these people. In critical ESG goals, consider these steps to tailor efforts to the morals of many young professionals.
Enticing Millennials and Gen Z to join or invest in a company means approaching their turf — the digital landscape. Most of these people grew up in a highly technologized world where digital communication is second nature. Digitalized forms are easy to use and impress young people with an environmentally friendly, paperless route.
Furthermore, annual meetings to discuss the progress of ESG goals can be on video chat so people from across the country can witness efforts for positive change. Young people mesh well with virtual events and can stay up-to-date and informed on their investment or application decisions.
To better the company’s ESG standards and entice young generations, prepare concrete goals in key sectors. Tangible differences and successes are clear data for Gen Z and Millennials to latch onto and consider in their decision-making.
For one, the construction of ESG buildings uses sustainable materials and installs green energy like solar panels and air purification systems. To reduce heating and cooling costs, construction teams can also implement windows into workspaces so natural light can provide ample working light and help trap heat in the winter.
Additionally, smart appliances track and maintain temperatures or energy consumption. Fighting against energy waste is a significant factor in reducing emissions.
Companies can jump into content creation, virtual outreach on social media and live videos that update their viewers on tangible ESG goals. In future campaigns, consider bright and engaging content or live videos that outlay a fun approach to improving our planet.
Always be authentic in marketing and communication. Greenwashing is a prevalent issue and many are wary of companies that speak about environmental matters. Take the time to gather proper research teams to understand the full impact of company efforts and uncover how to improve them next quarter.
More and more corporations are releasing their sustainability disclosures to the public to build a sense of trust and community as well. Rebuking greenwashing invites young professionals to understand the company’s true mission and mindset.
Discovering the Benefits of a Better ESG Strategy
Businesses can save money by reducing waste and investing in renewables. Proper ESG strategies look to reduce energy consumption, emissions, and unnecessary steps in a supply chain or manufacturing process to lower the amount paid for supplies, energy, and more. A shift to renewable energy can also bring a hefty tax credit of up to 25% on your costs. All around, upgrading an ESG towards to goals of younger generations brings substantial benefits.
Companies that reorient their ESG strategy for success also can gain public favor through social media and networking. Young people are great at spreading their interests online and a good experience will draw more talent and investors.
Reorganizing company life for a socially responsible future can increase happiness and productivity. The happiest employees work at businesses with high ESG scores, according to Fortune’s Best Companies to work for in 2019. They have drawn in younger talent and promised a healthy future for their employees and descendants, ensuring a positive work-life.
Companies can invest in their future in more ways than one. ESG strategies create a better planet for everyone and entice young people's blossoming talent and interests into this investing sphere. The newer generations continually fight for social and ecological good — joining their ranks is one of the best ways to improve a business.
Article by Jane Marsh
Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of
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