The importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) involving environmental conservation is on the rise among consumers for a variety of reasons. Whether this is because of the world’s current environmental climate or the societal push to “go green,” consumers are becoming weary of the products and services they purchase. Millennials, especially, have been large contributors to businesses and organizations that offer green products and services — most likely due to the volunteer spirit that has been instilled in us through education and the acknowledgement of climate change. Regardless, millennials’ interest in purchasing green products and services remains consistent, making them a generation for businesses and organizations that promote CSR.
Although our generation recognizes the world’s need for environmental conservation, it can be difficult to find the time to volunteer or donate to organizations trying to tackle environmental issues. However, green marketing fulfills millennials’ need to help the Earth and saves them time by alerting us of companies who make an effort to sustain or heal the environment. This allows us to choose which products or services to purchase based on the company we believe is aiding the environment. By purchasing green products or services, we feel as if we are contributing to a better planet, while simultaneously receiving the item or service we need. This logic could technically be applied to any generation but millennials seem to be the most interested in making green purchases. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, millennials are 27 percent more likely to increase the number of products or services they buy from the green market compared to just 15 percent of Gen Xers.
Millennials care deeply about preserving the Earth but it is less about what companies are doing to conserve the environment and more about how companies are marketing their efforts. As with most marketing strategies, communication of these efforts begins with choosing the correct vocabulary. Unfortunately, many green terms, such as “sustainability” or “biodegradable,” are ambiguous words that mean something different to different people. However, “eco-friendly,” “recycled” and “green” are the top three terms that are most effective in conveying an environmentally superior product to millennials. By formulating a marketing strategy using these terms, it is more likely that millennials will notice the product or service and consider purchasing it.
Millennials are one of the largest generations in existence. We are young consumers who want to make a difference in this world and benefit our environment. Companies that promote their environmental conservation efforts are recognizing this and attempting to use it to their advantage. As we take the next steps in our career paths, we should keep this information in mind and perhaps encourage our companies to consider green marketing to grow their millennial audience. Not only could green marketing toward millennials benefit companies and organizations, it could benefit the world.
Julia Vachon is a senior public relations major at Ohio Northern University. She is a member of Delta Zeta National Sorority and President’s Club. Julia hopes to someday work for a company that makes corporate social responsibility a priority.