How Millennials Are Defining Sustainability As Key to Profitability August 31, 2016 | Roger LeBlanc

Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce within five years.

While you might associate millennials with video games and social media, as this generation enters the world-at-large, companies have the opportunity to build business opportunities, living spaces and working spaces around their unique consumer preferences.  

Millennials are the first generation to grow up as true technology natives; many have never lived in a world without smartphones or broadband internet. They grew up in a connected world full of information about environmental issues and how to take action.  As adults, they carry this empowerment forward as part of their everyday life.

 

Ditching the Car Keys for a Metro Card

Thirty years ago, earning your driver’s license was a teenage milestone. Today, the number of 20-24 year old drivers has dropped significantly – from 91 percent to 76 percent between 1983 and 2014. Nine percent of the non-drivers are motivated by environmental concerns, and nearly half of millennial car owners say they would be willing to give up their car.

Why? Young people value walkability and public transportation. A Nielsen report shows that two-thirds of millennials prefer to live in cities over the suburbs.

 

Corporate Sustainability Matters for Recruitment

Sustainability is more than good PR, it’s how employees are choosing their employers. Two-thirds of millennials say they plan on leaving their jobs within in the next five years, making them three times more likely to switch jobs than their parents. Since this generation always has one foot out the door, companies need to be intentional about nurturing loyalty to retain millennials.

Sixty-four percent of millennials value work that makes the world a better place over a high salary. Millennials care about the values of their workplace and they have more resources than ever to do research before making major decisions. Transparency about corporate sustainability builds trust with a generation who thrives on access to information.

 

“What’s For Dinner?” Takes on a Whole New Meaning

Millennials, more than other generations, consider the definition of healthy food to include being good for the environment. They need to be sold on the ethics of their food in addition to nutritional indicators.

This helps explains why 64 percent of US farmers markets report increased customer traffic and sales. Successful franchises are also responding to these sustainability and local food demands. Elevation Burger, for example, has been sustainable from the start and is now the largest restaurant purveyor of organic meat in the United States. To them, sustainability is more than just a good thing, it’s a competitive advantage.

 

How CRE Can Respond

Millennials use sustainability as a guiding post to decide where they live, where they work, and what they eat. Economic trends show that millennials are the most sustainability conscious generation to date, and the top companies are taking notice. For businesses hoping to maintain and grow profits, sustainability will have to be a part of the plan.

When it comes to CRE, younger tenants appreciate doing business in a building they know is green. Studies show that a property’s sustainability and energy efficiency are directly linked to tenant satisfaction. There are countless ways that property managers can utilize sustainability for tenant engagement, a responsibility that may soon be a necessity to compete in the modern market.

 

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Corporate Responsibility, LEED, millennials, sustainability marketing

About The Author

As the Content Marketing Specialist, Roger LeBlanc coordinates communication and outreach for Aquicore. As a LEED Green Associate, Roger is passionate about supporting climate change solutions in the built environment.

Previously he was the Energy Outreach Coordinator for George Mason University, where he managed campaigns surrounding behavior change for building tenants. Roger graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Sustainability Studies with a concentration in Policy and Politics. Currently Roger is pursuing a M.A. in Science Communication at George Mason University.