Young people are the next (and current) crop of conscious consumers

From The Huffington Post

By Tom Szaky

This post is sponsored by PepsiCo Recycling, the nationwide initiative on a mission to increase the U.S. beverage container recycling rate through community engagement. TerraCycle® is proud to spread awareness about the PepsiCo Recycle Rally, one of the nation’s leading beverage container recycling initiatives for K-12 schools. 

When it comes to learnings towards ethical consumption, our young people are miles ahead of us. A recent study finds that not only are young people often more conscious consumers than their parents, they are much more aware of global issues than some adults give them credit for. For example, the author of the study reported doing her research around the time of when there was a massive factory collapse in India, and found that the subjects, young people, were aware of the issue and expressed concern. 

While to the average, adult consumer, topics such as the welfare of animals, factory farming, and overseas working conditions can be out of sight, out of mind, even intimidating, young men and women are demonstrating a consciousness of social and environmental issues that carry over to the way they consume.

Being largely dependent on their parents and caretakers, some might argue that what drives and impedes more conscious thinking and behavior of young, active consumers is the actual lack of consumption (i.e. “It’s easy to care about the planet when it is not their money”), but this is not the case. Young people are shaping the economy all on their own with $4.2 billion in annual buying power, spending their own money on their own desires. 

What’s more is that young people have increasing influence on adults and their own spending habits, most directly within the parameters of the home or family life. More than 70% of parents say they solicit opinions from their children regarding purchases both for the children themselves and when making family purchases, even when it’s something they won’t directly use, like a car.