The Rise of Conscious Consumers Millennial and Gen Z Values Driving Change


Millennials and Gen Zers are more mindful of their purchases. They are endeavoring to support businesses that are eco-friendly, ethically sourced and aiming for societal change. It is said that these generations are the power behind the quick expansion of the aware consumer movement, taking the lead of expenditure based on values.

This article will investigate the reasons for this trend and how the conscious consumer movement is influencing businesses.

Definition of conscious consumer

Conscious consumerism is all about buying good and services with thought for their effect on society and the environment. It encourages people to ask questions about how the product was made and to spend money on firms that show responsibility. People who identify as conscious consumers use their money to support businesses that believe in sustainability.

It’s the art of understanding a product’s production process, and how it affects people and the planet. By being aware of the social, economic, and environmental impacts of products, conscious consumers can make efforts to create improvements.

Overview of Millennial and Gen Z values

Millennials (1982-2004) value independence, tech, and transparency. They prioritize experiences over material goods and seek purpose from employers. They want customization and prefer companies dedicated to innovation.

Gen Z (1996-2020) are digital natives who embrace diversity and want to make a global impact. They prioritize knowledge but not commitment. They view wealth extremes as unethical and value:

  • Flexibility
  • Authenticity
  • Freedom of expression
  • Connection/community
  • Ethical consumption

Millennials have been successful because they explore interests despite norms. Gen Z initiatives focus on relationships with communities for meaningful change, while allowing access to more traditional systems. Millennials and Gen Zers prefer start-up models (freelancing or consulting). They like this due to its creativity, cost-effectiveness, and less difficulty in setting up retail shops.

Millennial and Gen Z Values

Millennials and Gen Zs are shaping a change in how people shop. They are being more aware of how their spending affects the environment and society. This transformation is drawn from the values of these age groups.

We’ll look at what values are inspiring this alteration and how it affects businesses:


Millennials and Gen Z prioritize sustainability. They want to balance society, environment, and production. As part of their commitment, they reduce food waste, buy green, compost organics, and change lifestyle for a lower footprint.

Sustainability has influenced their buying habits. They look for companies with sustainable sourcing, circular economy, ethical processes, and safe work environments.

When they buy sustainable products, they know it was made with minimal impact. They back businesses that reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, and have other objectives related to sustainability.

Social Responsibility

Millennials and Gen Z have grown up in a digital age. They’re aware of social media and corporate responsibility. So, they want to make an impact on the world through their buying choices. They look at the societal, environmental, and ethical implications of their purchases. They want brands that are socially responsible and do good things – like donations or initiatives. Companies must be transparent about packaging materials and their ingredients. They must stay true to their core values.

This sense of social responsibility has made companies create fair practices, environmentally friendly packaging, and quality products at fair prices. Millennials and Gen Z don’t like misleading sales tactics. They want to make informed decisions that can impact the environment and society, without sacrificing quality or loyalty. To keep up with these conscious customers, companies must ethically source their resources and turn away from unsustainable practices.


Millennials and Gen Z value inclusivity. They focus on diversity, believing it is needed for progress. Everyone should have the same access to opportunities and be judged solely on merit. People should feel included, regardless of their differences. Respect and understanding must exist so everyone can succeed.

Millennials and Gen Z advocate for accurate language, meaningful discussions about diversity, representation, equity, and inclusion. They make sure every voice is heard, upholding this core value every day.

Impact on Businesses

Conscious customers are on the rise! Millennials and Gen Z know the power of their buying decisions. This has changed how businesses work, advertise, and design their products and services.

Let’s look at the impacts this has had:

Increased demand for eco-friendly products

The move towards eco-friendly production practices is creating a competitive market for companies that are committed to reducing their environmental impact. Consumers are now considering the environmental profile of products before buying, preferring items that are not damaging to the environment.

Businesses must take steps to reduce or replace unsustainable materials and processes in their operations – even if it costs more initially.

A 2018 survey found that 80% of people consider sustainability when selecting a business/product, while 69% prefer buying from brands with sustainability programs. Companies that use eco-friendly practices often experience improvements in efficiency and increased resource productivity.

In conclusion, demand for sustainable products brings both challenges and opportunities. It is more important than ever for businesses to prioritize green initiatives if they want to stay ahead.

Increased demand for ethical production

Businesses selling consumer goods have felt pressure to become ethical. This is to reduce the global environment’s human-made impact, and promote economic and working fairness. Customers are increasingly aware, and expect ethical production.

Companies must think of many issues, such as labor rights, animal welfare, pollution prevention, waste management, and energy efficiency. They should aim to go beyond meeting regulations.

This can involve living wages and reuse/recycling programs. These can benefit customers and the environment. And it can result in cost savings, reputation growth, and better operations.

Increased demand for transparency

Consumers today, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, want to know what their purchases mean. They want to understand the impact of their buying decisions. They also want companies to improve not only their own bottom lines, but society and the environment as well. Businesses must adjust. They must create a more open consumer experience. They must also use data-driven decision making and honest storytelling.

One way businesses have responded is by sustainability reporting. This outlines a company’s environmental impact. It shows energy consumption and carbon emissions. Companies must measure outcomes. They must build trust with conscious consumers. Consumers expect quality service and ethical practices. Consequently, businesses are shifting away from short-term strategies. They are now focusing on long-term sustainable performance. They must respect customers’ needs and human rights integrity.

Impact on Society

Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z’s, are becoming more conscious. This shift has had a lasting effect on society. It has encouraged corporate responsibility and spurred on consumer activism. Businesses are now more transparent. We can see the results of this in our societies.

Let’s explore the extent of this impact.

Increased awareness of environmental issues

An increased concern for the environment has sparked a growing interest in how everyday actions impact the planet. This has put pressure on business and industries to monitor and reduce their contribution to climate change and invest in green technologies.

This sense of duty is seen in many countries with initiatives such as the White House Clean Energy Savings for All Americans Initiative which plans to cut carbon emissions by 32% before 2030. The United Nations’ Financial Mechanism also created the Green Climate Fund. Governments are offering tax reliefs and incentives for green practices.

Consumers are asking for ethical and sustainable products that support sustainability initiatives. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Walmart and Costco have set goals such as 100% renewable energy usage by 2025. Organizations are being held more accountable for their environmental footprint, making it easier for citizens to pressure them if not enough is being done to save the planet. People are also looking into how small actions can reduce their own personal carbon footprint.

Increased awareness of social justice issues

Millennials, Gen Z and other generations have heightened their recognition of social justice and the requirement for universal equity and inclusion in society. They have been key in the rise of movements that push for environmental, advocacy, racial justice, and economic equality.

These movements are motivated by a need to make companies accountable for their actions and prioritize positive impacts on society over personal gain. For example, in 2020, major firms like Airbnb, Microsoft, Google and Nike signed the ‘CEO Pladge for Racial Equity’ – an open message to world leaders to take action against systemic racism.

Millennials and Gen Z have also championed the Living Wage Movement, designed to ensure those working full-time in historically underpaid roles receive a livable wage. This is due to an increasing belief that employers should take more responsibility for employee wellbeing, beyond paying minimum wages.

The growth of social justice-driven campaigns have made businesses discuss lasting changes, comprehending their purpose beyond profit-making, or risk losing customers. As conscious shoppers gain authority to request change from businesses globally, it is essential that firms understand their part in upholding values such as respect for diversity, fairness, integrity, and transparency.

Increased support of local businesses

Consumers are more aware of the effects of their purchases on the environment and society. Young people want businesses that invest in the community and back local businesses. Millennials and Gen Z see the value of helping industries that have a positive effect on local economies. This could mean increasing small business earnings, cutting down unemployment, and making people happier.

For instance, farmers markets and local food stores with locally-made products or services have become popular. People are now more likely to be loyal to a small business or a cause they like, instead of buying something marketed by a big firm. Consumers are also eager to pay a premium for items that are eco-friendly and are made ethically – be it locally-sourced or imported. Gen Z are more careful when spending money and often go for cheaper items, leading to less spending overall but with a greater leaning towards mindful brands.

Therefore, young consumers would rather give back or reinvest in local suppliers and services, rather than huge corporations – which is beneficial to small businesses and acknowledges their importance in maintaining communities.


Thus, we can see that conscious consumers are impacting the products that are made, as well as what people expect from brands. Customers want brands to be honest, have strong values, and prioritize the environment and people. This is apparent through the increasing trend of buying sustainably and ethically seen among Millennials and Gen Z.

Summary of the impact of conscious consumerism

Conscious consumerism is a growing trend. People are taking control of their buying decisions, understanding that what they purchase affects the environment, society and economy.

Consumers are becoming more aware of how their choices impact the world. They consider how goods are made, sourced, and disposed of. Plus, who benefits from them and where ingredients are from. This helps people make empowered, positive choices.

By being more mindful about what we buy, we can help reduce global pollution, stop labour exploitation and unethical supply chains, and discourage companies from wrongly throwing away waste materials. Every small step taken towards conscious consumerism helps build a better future for the planet.

We can support sustainable businesses or donate to green initiatives, so we can bring about systemic change for the environment and our global community.

Future outlook of conscious consumerism

The trend of conscious consumerism is growing. People know more about sustainability, workers’ rights, and animal welfare. They are more likely to buy from companies that match their values. Companies are taking responsibility for their supply chain. They are investing in sustainable initiatives and hiring ethical pioneers to address social issues.

Conscious consumerism will be a part of our lives for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is driving the rise of conscious consumers?
A1:The rise of conscious consumers is being driven by the values and preferences of Millennials and Gen Z. This new generation of shoppers are more concerned with the ethical and environmental impact of their purchases, and are more likely to support brands that are transparent about their practices and products.

Q2: What values are driving conscious consumerism?
A2: Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to support companies that prioritize sustainability, environmental protection, corporate social responsibility, and ethical labor practices. They also tend to prefer brands that offer transparency and traceability in their supply chains.

Q3: How can companies better appeal to conscious consumers?
A3: Companies can better appeal to conscious consumers by being transparent about their practices and products, pursuing sustainability initiatives, and engaging in corporate social responsibility and ethical labor practices. They should also strive to implement traceability in their supply chains.