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Gen Z and the Fight for Sustainability

Gen Z and the Fight for Sustainability
April 15, 2021 Rosie Ranson

Who is Generation Z?

Over the past few years, the world and the media has been captivated by Greta Thunberg, a teenage environmental activist on Climate Change. Many were surprised not only by her knowledge and passion but also her age. 

Greta belongs to Generation Z, or Gen Z for short, which is a generation of individuals born between 1997 and 2015. Gen Z is known for individual expression, avoiding labels and freedom of speech. Their consumer actions and lifestyle choices differ from those of older generations in many ways, including the importance of sustainability and “green living”.

Gen Z sustainability

Gen Z vs Climate Change: The Environmental Battle

Gen Z have grown up with climate change being a constant topic in the media. In a 2016 study undertaken by Masdar, Gen Z ranked Climate Change as the biggest challenge their generation will have to face, ahead of economy, terrorism, and poverty.[1] 

In 2019 Greta Thunberg organised a global climate strike which gathered hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, all with the same aim, protesting the government’s inaction on the climate crisis. The protest proved that it is not only the “global giant” of the world that want change, but the younger generation of countries worldwide.  

Working in a Sustainable Industry

When asked about pursuing a career in the energy industry, Gen Z respondents were most interested in wind and solar energy, at 43 and 50 percent, respectively[2]. It is therefore no surprise that 36% of Pager Power employees are classed as Gen Z. 

Heather Domjam, a professor at Houston’s University for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics predicts that Gen Z will have a negative opinion of the oil and gas industry when it comes to employment. Domjam suggests that negative media has tainted the view of Gen Z, with oil spills and emissions hitting the headlines[3]. However, I would argue that is it the truth that has had this impact as Gen Z are able to make their own decisions independently of media coverage. 

It is not only the renewable energy sectors that have a rise in Gen Z employees, but also companies that have a strong sustainability focus and plan. Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) suggests that Gen Z have two main criteria when it comes to finding a career:

  1. Meaningful work,
  2. Products/Services that align with their values.[4]

Many larger companies have a published a Sustainability Plan, which can cover all factors from energy consumption, green packaging, and the supply chain. If companies are transparent about motivation and purpose, then the Gen Z population are more likely to respect their beliefs. 

So, What’s Next?

Gen Z and their passion for sustainability have evidently been noticed worldwide. With an entire generation’s future at stake and the passion of individuals like Greta Thunberg, I believe that we are only at the beginning of Gen Z’s fight for sustainability and climate change action.  

About Pager Power

Pager Power undertakes technical assessments for developers of renewable energy projects and tall buildings. For more information about what we do, please get in touch.

References

  1. Nexant. 2021. Generation Z and its Potential Impacts on the Energy Industry. [online] Available at: https://www.nexant.com/resources/generation-z-and-its-potential-impacts-energy-industry
  2. Morning Consult. 2021. Gen Z Largely Believes Climate Change Is Inevitable, Though Roughly Half Think It Can Be Slowed. [online] Available at: https://morningconsult.com/2020/09/01/gen-z-climate-change-poll/ 
  3. Fellows, U., 2021. Calling Generation Z: The Energy Industry Reaches Out To Its Future Workforce. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2018/04/10/calling-generation-z-the-energy-industry-reaches-out-to-its-future-workforce/?sh=efbaa3ebb297
  4. Bsr.org. 2021. Millennials, Gen Z, and the Future of Sustainability | Blog | BSR. [online] Available at: https://www.bsr.org/en/our-insights/blog-view/millennials-generation-z-future-of-sustainable-business

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