Millennials VS Gen Z: Who Are More Sustainable Consumers?

by Tanya July 19, 2022

It’s clear that for Generation Z the Coronavirus pandemic is what the Great Recession was to Millennials in 2008. A massive socioeconomic setback.

But …

Unlike the post-2008 recession, this time around the pandemic put sustainability and eco-consciousness in hyperdrive.

What is driving this trend?

Why are younger consumers more sustainable?

Sustainable consumerism is driven by broader ecological problems like the climate crisis, which have risen to the limelight in 2018 thanks to activist organisations like Extinction Rebellion, the famous Greta Thunberg “How dare you?” speech at UN, and more.

It is thought that climate change is man-made – caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. 

Everything we do affects the planet. Overconsumption has led this generation actively seek to influence policy and businesses on matters that are important to them, including environmental issues, inequality, and discrimination.

Both generations – Gen Z and Millennials have grown up with an excess of (often cheap) products and the “wear-it-once” culture has perpetuated the abundance of waste and unsold stock ending in landfills. 

It’s no surprise that we are pushing back.

What are the most popular sustainable practices among Gen Z and Millennials?

According to Deloitte study in 2021, the most prominent sustainable lifestyle changes among Gen Z and Millennials are:

1. Cutting down on single-use plastics

2. Shopping for brands with environmentally sustainable values, like this sustainable bedding company

3. Reducing overall spending on new items and embracing second-hand economy via marketplaces like Depop

4. The consumption of meat and animal-based products

Approximately 1 in 5 are opting for low-carbon transport, switching to renewable energy, or cutting back on the number of flights they take.

Sustainability – a luxury only few can afford?

Research conducted by Ernest Young found that consumers with a household income of over £50k are most engaged with the idea of sustainable shopping. They are also more likely to have altered their behaviour. 

Gen Z and Millennials may be vocal about environmental issues on social media, but when it comes to changing their actual habits, they don’t readily want to trade convenience, or affordability for sustainability.

Millennials and Gen Z are only willing to pay 4-10% more for sustainable goods, according to different studies.

So here lies our biggest problem:

How to make eco-friendly living affordable and convenient for more people? 

Gen Z and Millennials are trying to balance wanting to be environmentally conscious with not having the means to do so.

Affordable sustainable brands Millennials and Gen Z love

Here are some sustainable brands we love:

Levi’s – all-time favourite, timelessly classic denim company. They follow ethical production & sourcing, sustainable practices & materials, give back, and inclusive sizing. Price range from $12 (baby bodysuit) – $398 (overcoat). 

 In terms of aesthetics – nothing beats vintage Levi’s jeans. Check out ideevintage.com – an amazing independent 90s-inspired vintage seller (including the classic 90s Levi’s 501 jeans).

Kotn – loungewear brands. So good for basics – like T-shirts and tank tops. Certified B Corp, BCI certified organic cotton, safe & fair labor standards, plastic-free packaging, gives back to Egyptian communities. Price range $24 (tank) – $110 (denim)

Fine Bedding Company – one of the few affordable sustainable bedding companies. Prices range from £10 (pillowcase) to £105 (a bedding set). With full control of manufacturing through to delivery, they carefully select their suppliers with high priority placed on fair working conditions. They are the first filled bedding company in the UK to carry the prestigious Downpass badge. Check out their innovative Night Owl duvet and eco friendly bed linens

Ecoegg – an eco-friendly ‘laundry egg’. This affordable alternative to conventional washing detergent uses innovative mineral-based formulas that clean clothes effectively with no harmful chemicals and no plastic. Just 14p per wash!

Aligne – a cute and sustainable fashion company with a transparent supply chain, using planet-friendly fabrics and democratic practices. Love their dresses that will last a lifetime, which is absolutely the intent. 

Gen Z VS Millennials – who are more sustainable consumers?

Both Gen Z and Millennials are almost equally invested in sustainable consumption, with Millennials winning slightly.

According to Deloitte, around 21% of the consumers who belong to Gen Z and 23% of Millennials make purchases based on the environmental impact of a product. Around 53% of Gen Z and Millennials are well-aware of the importance of sustainability when making purchase decisions.

Image-conscious Gen Z are more concerned with supporting ethical brands while Millennials focus on reducing consumption altogether.

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The first Millennial blogger in the UK. Twitter @_luckyattitude

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