With California currently ablaze, how can auto executives side with the government to roll back emissions standards to a 1970s-era world? I want to personally ask these individuals if they have children or if the future planet isn’t a concern for them? And I am not unique. I am a Millennial and many others, like me, are deeply concerned about the state of the planet. The public’s concern for global warming has reached record levels, especially from Millennials. Ninety-three percent of Gen-Z believe brands have an obligation to take a stand on environmental issues, and the vast majority of Millennials and Gen-Z will purchase environmentally friendly products over the alternatives.
The auto industry is a huge business, and companies that don’t care about the environment won’t survive. Here are five reasons future customers will boycott automakers that don’t care about the environment.
1. Future Customers Want To Make A Difference
A staggering number of young customers are passionate about the environment and want to support companies that take a stand to help the environment. Companies that don’t do anything, or worse, that push against environmentally friendly initiatives, run the risk of being alienated by these powerful future consumers. Customers want to do their part to help the environment, and they want companies to help in their efforts instead of fighting against them. Research found that 88% of consumers want brands to help them be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
2. Environmental Issues Are Creating Other Disasters
Growing environmental issues have started impacting other areas of people’s lives. The fires currently burning across California are fueled by climate change and have affected more than 30 million people and caused PG&E to cut power to reduce the risk. Rising global temperatures also contribute to an increasing number of hurricanes, tropical storms, corrosive waves and other natural disasters. While people used to say climate change didn’t affect them, people around the world are now impacted by the effects of environmental issues on a daily basis in very real and dangerous ways. These disasters will only continue to worsen if companies don’t take a stand for environmental issues.
3. Climate Change Is Only Getting Worse
Environmental concerns have become hot-button issues in recent years as they become more powerful and real. If current trends continue without efforts to control carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, global temperatures could increase by more than 12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, which also comes with a 10% decline in precipitation in the subtropics for each degree of global warming. Scientists predict that even with drastic changes to reduce greenhouse gases, the damage has already been done and climate change and environmental issues will continue to grow. Younger customers feel the impact of this because they will be the leaders and parents of coming generations tasked with repairing environmental damage.
4. Younger Customers Have More Buying Power
Customers vote with their wallets, and younger customers are a powerful consumer voting group. One survey found that 57% of consumers will boycott a company that doesn’t support their social beliefs. Millennials represent $1.4 trillion in annual spending and are the most powerful group of current consumers. However, they will soon be overtaken by Gen-Z, which currently has $143 billion in annual buying power, and the number is expected to increase when it becomes the largest generation of consumers in just a few years. Younger consumers are more passionate about the environment and won’t support companies that don’t care about environmental issues, such as many large automakers.
5. Consumers Trust Companies More Than They Trust The Government
Research has shown that people don’t trust their governments to make real, meaningful change, which means in many cases the responsibility to create a better and more sustainable world falls to companies. The downside of that for companies is that if they don’t live up to consumers’ expectations, they can face serious consequences. Consumers want companies to take a stand and be responsible for creating a better world and will make companies answer when they don’t do their part.
Recent events have highlighted how passionate younger generations are about the environment and the dangerous impact climate change can have on the entire world. In order to stay in business, automakers and companies in all industries need to take a stand and support positive environmental change. Their customers are counting on them.
Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, customer experience futurist and the author of two books including her new “The Customer Of The Future.” Stay in touch with her weekly on her newsletter.