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  • Writer's pictureHeikki Leskinen

Bridging the Generational Gap on Climate Change

Young people working together next to a big screen

Recent research reveals a disconnect between companies and next-generation talent on sustainability efforts. Here’s how to align priorities through cross-generational collaboration.

A 2023 Deloitte survey of over 22,000 millennials and Gen Zs worldwide uncovered a stark gap in perceptions:

  • 75% of executives said sustainability investments increased

  • But only 24% of young talent saw employer climate actions as genuine

Notably, The NextGen Project's Purpose Gap research with Cognizant had similar findings - just 24% of respondents felt their employer’s environmental stance was authentic.

With climate change shaping their worldview, younger generations now assess employers through an environmental lens. The Deloitte survey further found:

  • 42% have or plan to change jobs due to climate concerns

  • 50% are pushing employers to drive environmental change

  • Yet only 15% feel able to influence company sustainability

This data signals a pressing need for greater transparency and dialogue. While eco-investments are important, clearly communicating initiatives to employees is equally critical.

Bridging this generational divide enables businesses to:

  • Attract and retain in-demand young talent

  • Tap into diverse perspectives to drive innovation

  • Build trust and unity around shared climate goals

Here are four tips for executives seeking to align with the next generation on climate action:

1. Increase Transparency Around Sustainability

Clear and consistent communication is vital. Regularly update employees on eco-initiatives and investments. Foster open discussions to spur engagement.

2. Incorporate Sustainability Into Strategic Planning

Walk the talk by embedding sustainability into company objectives. Make sustainability central to strategic planning. Back it up with resources and funding.

3. Engage Younger Generations Directly

Leverage their passion for impact. Involve millennials and Gen Zs directly in sustainability projects. Recognize their vital contributions.

4. Facilitate Cross-Generational Dialogues

Bring together diverse perspectives. Encourage collaboration between generations to share ideas and find common ground.

The bottom line? Embracing diverse voices strengthens climate strategies and future workforce retention. By valuing younger generations today, businesses build resilient futures.


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