Ethical Consumer Or Transient Responsibility?

Claudia Ricci

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Ethical consumer or transient responsibility? A question of high relevance for all brands interested in the emergence of ethical consumerism.

A recent study conducted by McKinsey, investigating the millennial segment and their consumption habits, looked in particular at:

  • Spending power – given that Millennials have become a market force that embodies $2.5 trillion (2018).

  • Their consumption values, in relation to people, animals and the environment.

Understanding what drives this segment – given their spending power – and more importantly, how to engage with them has become critical for the businesses of tomorrow.

Stella McCartney Stylish Ethical Fashion

The research showed that 70 per cent of millennials are willing to spend more time and money with ethical brands that support causes they care about.

Causes of social and environmental nature, that impact the supply chains and operations.

Accordingly, when brands engage in activities that maximise social impact and reduce their environmental footprint strike a sensible chord with the millennial consumer of personal luxury goods.

Ethical consumer - more consumers are interested in sustainable fashion brands

Moreover, according to Hartman Group’s Sustainability report for 2017, almost 90 per cent of respondents state that sustainability-related concerns impact the way they value brands and their products.

Consequently, the perceived value affects their attitudes and actions toward specific brands, actions catalogued as ethical consumerism, or consumers’ power to vote with their money.

Nowadays, the concept of ‘ethical consumerism’ has become a holistic concept that encompasses a wide range of interconnected sets of concerns. These concerns relate to more than just ethical manufacturing, animal welfare, sustainable materials, and transparent supply chains but also to gender equality, diversity and inclusivity and even philanthropy.

Consumers’ ethical choices have started to impact brands.

Last year alone saw more luxury brands than even, pledging to go fur-free under the pressure of ethical consumer.

Ethical consumer phenomenon has reached global spread and coverage, setting a general feeling of uncertainty and insecurity amongst worlds’ brands.

A similar study conducted by Bain and Company in 2018 has revealed that the best way to neutralise brands and consumers’ feelings of anxiety and insecurity is to unite them through ethical collaboration.

In light of the research, brands and the ethical consumer must push together towards a more sustainable world.

Ethical consumerism - an ecosystem comprised of animals, people, companies, planet

The research also looked at why millennials are turning away from the idea of governments and nation-states.

Accordingly, to this generation, globalisation has to be redefined to a more digestible concept, such as ‘personal and ethical globalisation’.

In that context, the world would consist of limitless cross-border movement and unhindered digital communication.

A world united by a common goal, that of protecting people, animals, the environment and its resources.

A goal revolving around the preservation of our planet.

Similarly, the study shows that over 90 per cent of tomorrows’ future leaders see the creation of a better world through increased levels of empathy.

To them, the future lies in a global culture based on conscious, ethical collaborations.

Millennial generation believes that unethical institutions no longer reflect their interests.

A generation filled with scepticism as reflected in their consumption habits and choices of goods.

Moreover, more than two-thirds believe that shaping the future is up to them as individuals, rather than the brands they used to consume, says the report.

Ethical consumer - Ecochic design award 2017

In conclusion, anyone interested in the millennial consumer segment should know that they’re not driven by a transient state of mind.

According to the study, this generation is guided by ethics, sustainability, and collaboration goals, all for the benefit of people, animals and the planet.

Just listen to what they have to say.

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