Why Millennials Will Be This Decade’s Corporate Watchdogs
Consumers are increasingly skeptical of traditional businesses and looking for alternatives to exploitative or destructive practices
In the process of creating stuff people want to buy, businesses also create a vast medley of byproducts and aftereffects that are decidedly less good. They add to what feels like a pretty depressing state of affairs: the climate crisis is reaching intimidating, unprecedented heights, millions of people suffer daily from environmental health risks around the world, mental health issues are driving a steady uptick in suicide rates, obesity is on the rise, inhumane working conditions have been normalized for a nontrivial portion of the population, and so on.
It’s clear that something’s got to give. And I believe we are beginning to see a shift from enterprises scrambling to avoid responsibility for these issues to a new class of global business leaders seeking to actively identify and eradicate them.
Changes in consumer consciousness, led by technological advances, increased levels of transparency, and demographic shifts have shown forward-thinking business leaders that “doing well by doing good” makes economic — not just moral — sense. With today’s value-driven business leaders as its early adopters, a vital, sustainable materialism began to emerge in the 2010s. In the 2020s, this new materialism will go mainstream.
Our values, they are a-changing
Part of this change stems from the fact that in the 2020s, millennials (my generation) will come into their own as society’s corporate and political leaders. Here’s what we know about the shifting values of tomorrow’s future leaders:
We need only look as far back as the 20th century to remember that a product’s supply chain was not something consumers worried much about. But we certainly do now.