Gen Z has begun to enter college and will soon be taking over colleges entirely. As this change happens, it’s important to consider the social and political views of Generation Z. Learn how they are similar and different from prior generations. According to a study published by Pew Research Center, Generation Z shares many views similar to that of the Millennial generation that immediately preceded them, meaning they are generally more liberal and open to diversity than generations prior. In our previous blog we reflected on the Gen Z take on gender identity. Now we will focus on the environment
Gen Z and Climate Change
On the issue of climate change, Gen Z has similar beliefs to those of Millennials. Slightly more than half of Generation Z believes the Earth is warming as the result of human activity. This is about on par with Millennials but higher than all other generations surveyed. Each subsequently older generation after Millennials is less likely to believe humans are causing climate change, showing this to be another uniquely youthful view.
When looking at things from a more partisan perspective, generational contrasts become clearer. Among only Republicans, 18% of Gen Z believes the Earth is warming due to natural patterns (rather than human activity). Not only is this significantly lower than the oldest generations surveyed, but also Millennials as well. 30% of Millennial Republicans surveyed believe Earth is warming due to natural patterns. Republicans have traditionally been highly skeptical of climate change, and certainly more skeptical than the nation as a whole. Gen Z Republicans may be moving towards breaking that trend. No generational gap on this issue seems to exist among Democrats.
College Marketing Implications
These results clearly show that younger generations embrace the idea that human activity causes climate change. Companies showing that they care about the potential dangers of climate change are more likely to appeal to today’s typical college student than those that don’t. This provides advantages to firms who can prove their products or services are inherently “green.” For example, a company selling bicycles could emphasize their environmental benefits in comparison to using cars.
What can a company do if its main product or service can be harmful to the environment? It’s important to prove something is being done to make a change when targeting Gen Z. This may come in the form of a product redesign or new type of product. It could also be done through a promise to reduce carbon emissions or other forms of pollution by a specific amount. Even if it is not a dramatic change, this will allow a company to differentiate itself as more environmentally friendly than its direct competitors.