From Label Networks’ 3rd Annual Sustainability and the State of the Future Youth Culture Study 2014.

We were honored to be asked to present some of our research results and forecasts at SXSW Eco conference in Austin, TX, last week. The conference included a range of brands, from Toms of Maine to Sony Pictures, to organizations working in the field of sustainability including Acumen, Girl Scouts, Target, National Wildlife Foundation, Sierra Club, and a large number of global agencies.

In our presentation, we talked about youth culture today and issues of sustainability called #TheSustainables. The idea started 3 years ago, when we attended a sustainability summit with global brands such as Coca-Cola, Hewlitt Packard, BP, and Motorola. At that summit, we heard over and over that when it comes to issues of sustainability, eco-friendly purchasing patterns, concern about global climate change, sustainable fashion, that today’s youth marketplace doesn’t really care; that they are apathetic.

It seemed like we were one of the only ones say that that notion couldn’t be further from the truth. And that by thinking that young people were apathetic, it blinded these global brands, our so-called leaders from various industries, to future possibilities and the reality of where things were headed. This disconnect was disturbing on many levels, especially when it comes to something so important as global climate change.

We set out to prove that not only does today’s youth culture care, but they are already acting issues of global climate change and sustainability. We took to task old assumptions that this demographic is apathetic and fearful that change is needed. There is little fear of change because they are the change agents. Change is exciting, motivating, even an identifier. With more life ahead of them than behind them, they are the most hopeful segment of the population. And there is much to be learned by seeing through their eyes.

How did we measure this? For the past 3 years, we’ve surveyed more than 30,000 young people across the U.S., regarding issues of sustainability and humanitarian concerns.

We’ve discovered that for many people, issues of sustainability have awakened a very DIY spirit. It has given rise to opportunities seen only through the lens a young person who has been born into this situation and knows no differently.

Our results were quite riveting and not only illustrated that youth culture today is far more aware about such issues than any generation previous, but that they are already living within the framework of the situation they inherited, and doing something about it.

In this story, we take a look at the results of the Youth Perspective on the State of the Environment.

Label Networks’ presentation #TheSustainables for SXSWEco.

When asked, “Generally, are you worried about the state of the environment?” the results clearly show that today’s youth culture thinks differently.

  • 85% is Concerned about the environment
  • What’s interesting to note is that females are far more concerned with higher percentages saying Very Much at 39.8% compared with males, however it has increased for both
  • There have been changes in terms of who’s the most concerned about the environment. 15-17-year-olds have the highest percentages that are now Very concerned which means that today’s teens are very aware and doing something about it.

It’s important to note that the environment is a part of the future consumer’s concern, and therefore, lifestyle. But what this also means for those who do something about it, a shift in responsibilities, ideas, and even new opportunities.

For more information about Label Networks’ SXSW Eco presentation, #TheSustainables, email; (323) 630-4000.