The Myth of the Green Millennials

A widely held belief about Millennials is that they are inclined to care about environmental issues and are more likely to engage in green behaviors than other generational groups. This characteristic has not been lost on companies that see market potential in targeting Millennials with green products. This generathtion is different, or so we have been led to believe. They care about the environment and feel a sense of duty to preserve it after the years of neglect by their parents’ generation.

Research by an expert on Millennials suggests that the view of a greener generation may be a myth. Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor, conducted a longitudinal study that found concerns about the environment among Millennials have decreased over time. Moreover, Twenge’s research found that Millennials were not as inclined to engage in green behaviors like cutting back on energy consumption and participating in environmental clean up as generational counterpart Generation X. These findings are counter to the notion that environmentalism is a priority for Millennials.

This post is not intended to debate whether Twenge is right or wrong. Her research has been criticized before because it tends to put Millennials in a less than favorable light. The takeaway here is to be willing to challenge assumptions about your customers, competitors, internal capabilities… in other words, all areas that impact your business. Just as Twenge has evidence of diminished emphasis on the environment among Millennials, other research can be produced that suggests environmentalism is indeed important to this generation. Which side do you believe? Both and neither at the same time!

Are there long-held assumptions or generalizations that influence decision making in your organization? It may be time to challenge them, testing their generalizability to today’s turbulent business environment. Marketing strategy may be grounded in outdated beliefs about customers or the external environment. Put assumptions to the test to determine their veracity. Otherwise, you may be making marketing decisions that are based on outdated or incorrect facts.

eCampus News – “Study: Young People not so ‘Green’ After All”

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