The younger generations are the ones to guide sustainability, those who delay are lost
The vast majority of young people (also known as Gen Z) is more and more convinced that their consuming choices might change the world and they try to find brands they can trust.
While the producing world, even the wine production (but not just this one), keeps thinking about whether it is possible or not to invest definitely in sustainability in all its forms, the consumers’ world appears more determined than ever to try and find brands to trust.
Particularly, the younger generation (the so-called American GEN Z which involves young people of 16 to 24 year of age) is the one to have a very precise vision of their responsibility regarding consumption, while their expectations about companies increase.
About that, there is a very interesting investigation by Wunderman Thompson about how the American Gen Z is approaching their buying choices. First of all, more than 60% of the young Americans interviewed is convinced that the brand they choose, in some way, represents them (“brand is an expression of who they are”). But, (even more explanatory), almost 80% of them want to feel proud of the brand they buy and so they wish their money to go to companies they trust.
What do young Americans trust? The 85% of them declared that they would prefer a brand that does not only think about the profit. The 80% thinks that the brands should improve peoples’ lives. And about this matter, the pandemic increased the young Americans’ desire to find brands that take on their responsibilities to build a better “new normal”. More than 74% of the young Americans interviewed said that the pandemic allowed them to focus on what is really important for them.
Another aspect that, from my point of view, might have a strong influence in the sustainability matter is the Gen Z’s saving attitude. In fact, 65% of them declared that they are “savers” more than “spendthrifts”. But almost 90% thinks that starting to save is truly important in order to grant a better future.
In conclusion, the research highlights how 75% of young Americans think that their generation will be able to change the world and they are ready to fight for it.
So, it is undeniable that, even weighing up this kind of investigations, there are a lot of signals that highlight how the younger generations have a better conscience of their role in bettering the world. It seems that this attitude is not only ideological as it was in the past, but it is much more pragmatic. Right because of that pragmatism expressed today by what we could call the Greta Generation, it is possible to think that, shortly, the choice towards absolutely sustainable productions will not be an optional but an obligation.
In my opinion, it would be a big mistake from the companies to wait for the sustainable choices to be compulsory because this would mean to already be late and take on all the market consequences this implies. An example about this matter regards the wine bottles’ weight. Despite it being years in highlighting the necessity to reduce the bottles’ weight, since it has a strong impact in the environment (every glass kg corresponds to 2,7 CO2 kg), there are still many wine bottles that weight a lot (more than 1kg sometimes).
It is true that the market gives contrasting signals on this matter, with consumers (especially in Asia) that keep selling heavy bottles as a synonym of distinction, but there are a lot of companies that finally understand that the duo heavy bottle and wine is a damage to the environment.
Not coincidentally, in the countries where there is more team spirit (Australia, New Zealand) there are more and more producers every day that chose to lighten the bottles, even the ones dedicated to sparkling wines.
In Italy we have the sensation that this process, even if occurring, is still going slowly and we wish for an acceleration.
However, this is just an example because the sustainability required by the youngster has no limits: it goes from producing process to packaging, from the production ethic to the social and economic sustainability.
The Italian wine companies today need to be prepared for all of this and I am convinced that those who are without reservation are also the ones that will be able to communicate it in the best way in front of a rosy future.
Those who wait for more clear signals are already late.