We are excited to watch Gen Z (children born 1995-2010) step into the world arena for many reasons. One area where we are seeing a huge amount attention is in the area of Social Entrepreneurship and their hyper-focus on making a difference. They are not afraid to put their career, votes or buying power where their core values are. As this generation is coming of age the world is taking notice.
The amount of data already available highlighting just how much this young generation is already doing in this space, is staggering. Gen Z is clearly passionate about sustainability and environmental change and determined to make a positive impact on the world. 84% want to change the direction the world appears to be headed and 71% believe they will make a big impact on the world. Social listening reveals that Gen Z is determined to “make an impact” and “make a difference”. Social Entrepreneurship is one of the most popular career choices, showing they not only want to do it through volunteering or recycling – they are making it their livelihood. They see opportunities to follow their passion while also finding a sustainable career on a local or global stage in fields that include: economics, technology, environmental science, politics & government, communications, renewable energy and more.
Leaders from around the world are also weighing in, “We cannot deliver on sustainable development without empowering our young people,” said Her Excellency Shamma bint Sohail Faris Al Mazrui, UAE’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chairwoman of the Emirates Youth Council. “The Masdar Gen Z Global Sustainability Survey shows that our youth seek to lead change in sustainable development and the future energy economy. Both government and the business community have a golden opportunity to harness youth’s ideas, vigor and optimism.”
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “We are pleased to see the high level of understanding of young people from right across the world of the importance of delivering a more sustainable future. “As we look ahead, the findings of our global survey provide an important insight into the action required to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and clean technologies. Today’s youth are the policymakers, industry leaders, technical experts and consumers of tomorrow – an audience with whom we and the wider energy and sustainability community must engage to realize a more sustainable future.”
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said in her keynote speech: “There is huge demand among our youth for corporate and public investment in clean technology and renewable energy. The winners in the green economy will be those who can harness this youthful idealism and combine it with regulations, long-term investment, cultural change and political action.”
“Little x Little,” a Global Movement led by Generation Z to fix the future, officially launched recently, setting an audacious goal of inspiring 2 billion acts of good by 2030 in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Issuing a call to action empowering young people everywhere to save the world, little by little. At launch, their voices will be amplified by creators in the U.S., U.K., India and Nigeria and supported by Google and Common Ground (a coalition of the six largest advertising groups) as the movement goes global. In a YouTube video, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the world’s two billion young people, “if each one of you takes action, you will create a wave of action like this world has never, ever seen.”
And these are just a few examples. As 2.0 parents of Gen Zers, helping them find opportunities to explore, study, intern and work in this space will check so many boxes they will find fulfilling. The data is compelling and we know that when you give Gen Z an opportunity to deep dive in an area that touches their hearts, they are not only highly motivated but as we have seen, are already making a significant impact in this space. In a fast changing world, industry, business and jobs are quickly becoming swept up in the journey to a more sustainable future and preparing this generation to contribute is a pressing responsibility for all.
What we are excited about is as Gen Z continues to bring their voice to sustainability and our collective futures; this entrepreneurial, creative, energetic, motivated and caring group, are going to play a most significant role in ensuring the future continues to look brighter not only for us, but for many more generations to come.