16th of December, 2020, By Leire Elhazaz
As any company we guess your objective is to make money. Spoiler: you won’t do that by creating a product that is marketed as green.
If you come to the Youth Hacktivators to understand a demographic that will enthusiastically go to the store and buy your solid vegan shampoo, then we’re here to tell you that it won’t work.
Well, of course it will to a certain point. We know big brands have enough money to shove that product down our throat with enough publicity throughout all social media platforms. You will fool some of us and see those numbers go up; but the truth is that the demographic that will consistently buy your products for being green are more informed than that and will not easily fall for a greenwashed campaign. Even worse, sustainable trends change faster than you can adapt to them and your successes will be short lived or vulnerable to any shift in public opinion or current events.
For the willing-to-be sustainable consumers I can assure you that one of these two things will happen:
- Either they are curious enough to research the sustainable topic (and your product) and find an avalanche of information online on how that is not the most sustainable option on the market or
- They will not find the same level of performance in the green product as they did in their perfumed plastic bottled alternative and leave the shampoo bar at the end of their bathroom cabinet.
GenZs are inconsistent in their consumer purchases, they march every Friday, but they want their hair to smell of the tropical forests we fight to save.
Why is that?
Why oh why young people don’t just buy the products that will change the world?
My humble opinion is because it’s not our job. It shouldn’t be.
Most people marching are not even old enough to vote, let alone to be trusted with a PAYING position at a job with enough responsibility. Hell, the youth unemployment rate in Spain is more than 40% and the jobs that are available either force you to be linked to a university to minimize responsibility or are left to the basic tasks of handling social media and translating documents (in my experience).
But then, when it comes to sustainability, we are magically responsible for using the little money we have on very coherent and responsible consumer purchases that will drive the world economy into a sustainable one.
You don’t trust us to lead projects, to give advice on the climate crisis but you do for guiding your economic strategy?
Talk about inconsistency.
Yes, we applaud every effort to be sustainable. This is not a message to discourage your initiatives, however small they may be. But we know you want to make money. How would you manage to do that?
First, that consumer who is already sustainable is not after your products, but your strategy. That consumer knows a solid shampoo means nothing compared to horizontal change.
Sustainability is not a product, it’s a mindset, a modus operandi, a commitment.
Buying sustainability sounds as absurd to me as trying to sell innovation, or ‘lean startup’, or ‘design thinking’.
The sustainable consumer will not trust a product that comes from a company that doesn’t understand what makes a product sustainable: it needs to be local (so forget about long supply chains spreading across several continents), to have natural ingredients (organic, ethically produced, preferably vegan and again, local), to be packaged and transported without plastic or greenhouse gas emissions and finally, it needs to contribute in some way to a circular economy (reusable, second hand, etc).
So, you see, I doubt many corporations are ready to deliver that kind of hyper-local sustainable product. They’ve lost that consumer even before starting.
As one of those extreme-hiding-in-a-cave-all natural-type of consumer, I’m here to tell you that there’s still hope, because here is where our “inconsistency” plays to your advantage.
I am happy to buy from an unsustainable corporation and stay loyal to it if I see that they are contributing to more than just a solid shampoo. The power of big corporations lies in shaping the market.
Listen to our ambition of the future, our needs and be responsible for your role in the market, because it’s your job. You’ll be rewarded with the loyalty of a movement and you’ll find that you don’t need to change for us: scientific evidence shows you need to do it for yourselves.
I’m trying to sell you resilience.
How did I do?