Guest blog: Listen to what the teens are telling us

Guest blog by Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Chief Commercial Officer, OneFamily

Guest blog by Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Chief Commercial Officer, OneFamily

We need to be listening to the next generation.  The teens who will be inheriting our planet, and clearly care very passionately for it, are now taking control of their child trust fund nest eggs.

These shouldn’t be written off as just some piggy bank savings – we’re talking a sizeable sum of money - around £1.6 billion hitting the economy each year for the next 8 years.  That’s the equivalent of around 25% of the current retail investment in ESG funds.  Believe me, these youngsters have some serious buying power.

This is the generation that has been very loudly telling us what they believe in.  Their activism took the climate change crisis to the UN, they filled the streets to shame the world in support of the Black Lives Matter movement last year and they certainly aren’t afraid to boycott corporations who they see as acting in an unethical way.

OneFamily did some research with teens recently and found that 97% say that the environment is important to them and 98% routinely undertake some action to protect the planet – for example recycling, using reusable bags and avoiding single use items. 

While there has been concern that the pandemic might have diverted the focus off sustainability issues, our research found that it has actually crystallised thinking; 73% of young people agreed that the Covid had meant that they were more aware of the fragility of the earth.  Seventy-eight percent said they believed corporations are putting profit before the environment and 82% thought business could be doing more to reduce its impact.

These are big numbers.  They reflect a real strength of feeling; these young people want to be heard.

They’re thinking longer term and, as they will have another sixty plus years on the planet, you can see why.  Their futures are hanging in the balance based on the decisions made by those who hold the power today.

This is also the generation that’s been most impacted by the pandemic.  Some have had to endure exams chaos and the resultant impact on their hopes and dreams, younger people are also 50% more likely to have been furloughed and twice as likely to have been made redundant in the last year. And it’s not like they can take a gap year and fly around the world to forget about everything.

Interestingly, in separate research, we found that the tough lessons taught by the unexpected turmoil of Covid has meant that more than half (56%) of 18-30s say that they are now more likely to regularly add to their savings than they were at the start of 2020.  So, they’re more cautious with their money and looking for long term security too.

This is the first generation who are being welcomed to adulthood with a lump sum of money.  As a group of people who have a proven track-record of living by their ideals, you can be absolutely certain that they will be thinking very carefully about where they’re going to invest it. A staggering 81% said they would prioritise the environment when choosing products – and that includes savings or investment products.

To be blunt, they’re not going to want their money to go into funds that support companies who damage the environment.

So, listening is the very least we can do.

To find out more visit www.onefamily.com

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.