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Gen Z – do they really care? A timely conversation about their planet

Generation Z are arguably the most important generation of planetary stewards. It’s been well documented that they are hyper aware and concerned about human impact on the planet. They are also cited as champions for social issues like world hunger and inequality. But what do they want done about the future of our planet? Do they really care?

Earth Overshoot Day has shifted to August 1st this year – the day when all humanity has used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. We thought it was the ideal time to find out what the next generation really think, when in possession of the big picture facts. We introduced them to the real science and social economics behind our planet’s dwindling resources and the potential consequences they might be facing in 2030.

We asked them:

  • What was most important to them

  • How the facts made them feel

  • What they thought businesses should do

  • What they would do to share the messages

And we started with a doughnut!

Take a look at our short taster film to hear their voice on the subject.

Gen Z will be influential 28 - 35 year olds in 2030 (under 12 years away) when the world might look very different. Until then they remain sophisticated consumers and arguably the biggest group of ethical consumers ever. Many brands will rely on attracting and retaining their business and have an opportunity to educate and share their sustainability efforts and impacts.

Article 13 has a suite of products to help businesses and brands

  • Understand what matters to their future consumers/customers

  • Focus sustainability efforts for brand impact

  • Devise meaningful sustainability targets and measures for 2030

  • Communicate beyond reporting

  • Unite business stakeholders in common goals


The research:

Article 13 has developed its proprietary Impact for Innovation approach with 7 years of research, including reviewing how over 240 of the world’s largest companies measure and set sustainability targets, reviewing 53 of the world’s largest corporates’ risk disclosures, reviewing existing tools, frameworks and regulatory requirements to understand where planetary boundaries and social thresholds fit within these, and interviewing over 100 sustainability experts to understand how other sectors, industries and countries are considering planetary boundaries and social thresholds.

Article 13 Impact for Innovation approach offers corporates a different way to think about their sustainability agenda. It encourages CEOs to use planetary boundaries and social thresholds as the guiding practice for business sustainability and ensuring their companies’ future viability. Co-developed and road-tested by leading companies, this pragmatic approach provides global relevancy that is grounded in science.


In 2009, Rockström et al identified nine ‘planetary life support systems’ essential for human survival, which if crossed could result in severe, abrupt and possibly irreversible environmental change to our planet. Raworth (2012 and 2016) has combined the nine planetary boundaries with twelve social thresholds. Together this model sets out the environmental boundaries which we must not cross and the basic social thresholds which we must strive to ensure every person reaches. These boundaries and thresholds informed the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals.


Article 13 are business sustainability experts, typically in the areas of risk, measurement and reporting. Article 13 advocates the adoption of planetary boundaries and social thresholds as the global guiding practice for business sustainability.

To arrange a business briefing: Contact Dr Jim Ormond and Jane Fiona Cumming, lead research authors and consultants at Article 13;

+44 (0)208 840 4450

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