The Rise of Generation-Climate (Gen-C)
Everyone’s stakeholders are starting to demand more responsible environmental stewardship from brands, companies and governments. Employees, customers, investors are all openly telling these institutions that if they don’t make amends and integrate more sustainable practices in their value chain, the organisation’s future will be limited
There was a famous documentary movie in 2007 narrated by Leonardo di Caprio that called our climate countdown - ‘The 11th Hour’. Today we’re in the penultimate stage of that ‘11th Hour’. The official Climate Clock countdown shows how much time we have left before we cross our defined upper-limit for average global temperature increase : < 1.5 °C increase since the 1880’s industrial age. Currently, we’re sitting on a time bomb, ticking down to 0, in roughly another 6 years.
A planetary scale disaster. And this one won’t discriminate between rich-poor, black-white, male-female, Eastern-Western, etc. It’ll affect literally every living species in the World, irreversibly. With this grim reality looming ever so near, the tagline of that documentary, “Turn mankind's darkest hour into its finest” is one that I have consistently resonated with, and have often reflected upon to find inspiration as we enter our Planet’s darkest hour.
The show goes on to repeat, “It’s OUR generation that gets to change the world … forever”. Fortunately, individual people, businesses, consumer brands, governments and financial institutions are all beginning to step up, take action and make sustainability along with climate positivity a high priority. There is a new awakening to stop climate change against all odds. We’ve come to understand that these change-makers don’t exist in one particular demography, ethnography, industry or region - they can’t be defined by a common set of characteristics. They can be found anywhere and everywhere, across society - and they are united by one thing, they CARE about climate change. It's a radical movement. It's a psychography, of those who care.
And are ready to take the first step. We like to think of them as Generation Climate or Gen-C, and they are the ones who will lead us into a greener future.
Why Now? Why Are They Starting To Care?
They’re caring more than before, because now it’s personal. For each institution. Not only is it the right thing to do for the Planet. Everyone’s stakeholders are starting to demand more responsible environmental stewardship from brands, companies and governments. Employees, customers, investors are all openly telling these institutions that if they don’t make amends and integrate more sustainable practices in their value chain, the organization’s future will be limited. The numbers prove that this generational shift is underway, across geographies!
For the first time, the motivational forces of both carrot and stick are at play, in multiple avataars:
1. Carrot (pull-based influence)
- Consumers are openly gravitating towards brands that offer more carbon-efficient, water efficient and waste minimal. Read consumer investment firm Fireside Venture’s recently published ‘Building the Value of Good’
- Employees have a growing preference to work for purpose driven organizations.
- Investors are also starting to find an increasing correlation between profit, planet and purpose. ESG driven funds have been outperforming traditional funds for the past-5 years, globally. In the private markets, Climate-Tech has become one of the hottest sectors to funnel fresh capital into.
2. Stick (push-based influence)
- Consumers reward well, but also punish brutally. People are shunning brands that openly pollute the environment, or aren’t setting more proactive agendas for real sustainability.
- Employees are demanding that the companies they work for become custodians for real climate action. There is a real and visible rise in employee driven climate mandates
- Funds are openly divesting from big-oil and fossil fuels companies, to nudge away from fuelling openly known causes of climate change. e.g. a little known investment firm Engine No. 1 won a proxy battle against Exxon Mobil in June last year
- Governments are starting to enforce compliance too. Upon companies in the form of a growing list of carbon, plastic and water standards. e.g. The EU’s mandatory emissions trading scheme (ETS)
This dual combo of carrot and stick influences is powerful, and is leading to a clear and present shift in breaking the status quo of non-action toward our environment. Companies like Neeman’s, All-Birds, etc are openly taking on the climate fight in ways that they can. There are a few like Patagonia that are going above and beyond to make our Planet their sole shareholder! The war has just begun, but the troops are amassing. In increasing numbers. With far more incentives to rally and help solve climate change. I’m optimistic about these winds of change, eager to see how many pick up the climate baton, and excited to help any institution that chooses to also get aboard.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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