- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Gen Z Americans want to work for employers committed to tackling climate change
- Majority (80%) would support U.S. companies adopting renewable energy in place of fossil fuels, with two in five (40%) believing they should be using 100% clean energy already
- Next generation calls for greater investment in high speed rail as two-thirds (66%) would support short haul flights being replaced with cleaner alternatives, even if it would lengthen their journey
September 20th, 2019 – Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Gen Z Americans want to work for employers committed to tackling climate change – the equivalent of 24.8 million employees in the workforce.
This is according to new research released today from international non-profit, The Climate Group, which surveyed over 1,000 16 to 24 year olds across the U.S. to find out their views on climate change and how it will affect their future choices.
The results – released ahead of today’s Global Climate Strike and prefacing next week’s gathering of global leaders for Climate Week NYC run by The Climate Group (September 23rd - 29th) – reveal a unified message that crosses state and party lines: national business and political leaders need to do more now. Despite recent studies showing political division in the U.S. over views on climate change , the same might not be true for young people, as the findings show similar opinions are held among survey respondents in Democratic and Republican states. Three in four young people (77%) feel that climate change is an important issue that needs to be solved, with almost equal results for Democratic and Republican states (80% vs 76%).
With the U.S. federal government actively rolling back pro climate policies, for most young people, the bulk of responsibility to solve the climate crisis rests on the shoulders of big U.S. businesses and state governments alike (60% for big businesses vs 69% for state governments).
An overwhelming majority (80%) support U.S. companies adopting renewable energy in place of fossil fuels, with two in five (40%) believing they should be using 100% clean energy already. 41% think the switch needs to be made by 2030 at the latest. This is pertinent given a recent Wood Mackenzie study which estimated that only 5% of Fortune 1000 U.S. businesses’ power has been committed to renewable sourcing. On top of this, 61 American businesses have so far joined The Climate Group’s global renewable electricity program, RE100, run in partnership with CDP, meaning hundreds of the largest businesses across the country have yet to commit to 100% renewable power. Filling this gap represents a huge clean investment and economic growth opportunity.
Within the transport sector, two-thirds (66%) of young people would support short haul flights being replaced with cleaner alternatives, such as high-speed rail, even if it would lengthen their journey, aligning with the opinions of teenage activist Greta Thunberg who is leading the ‘flight shame’ movement. With the U.S. lagging behind Europe and Asia for alternative high-speed rail options, the results highlight clear demand from the next generation for greater investment in cleaner transport infrastructure across the U.S.
Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, which annually hosts Climate Week NYC, said:
"We need wholescale changes to economies and infrastructure to make pro climate choices the new normal. It is in the interests of every business and government to sit up and listen to the next generation of workers and voters.
"We know through our initiatives for business on renewables, electric vehicles, and smart efficient energy and work with state and regional governments that good progress is being made in the U.S., but more needs to be done at a greater pace and scale. This year’s Climate Week NYC will provide a timely opportunity for businesses and political leaders to collectively discuss and agree what needs to be done over the next ten years to stop global heating in its tracks."
The survey also shows that climate-friendly choices are not always the most popular option. When presented with the prospect of a job offer from a company not committed to the environment, opinions are divided. 46% would accept, 39% are on the fence and 15% would definitely reject it, suggesting other factors could be at play, such as a scarcity of climate-friendly jobs, competition in the market and financial pressures.
Opinions on electric vehicles (EVs) also paint a complicated picture. Nearly one in five (16%) of those in the market to buy a car in the next five years would like it to be fully electric or plug-in hybrid. While this figure is significantly higher than the EV plug-in market share of 1.8% in the U.S. , many (65%) would still opt for gasoline cars, despite the same number (65%) feeling worried about the health impact of air pollution caused by local traffic. Given EVs have such a small market share in the U.S., the results suggest that governments and industry could do more to make EVs a viable option for young people, but more research is needed in this area.
For the first time, Climate Week NYC will be partnering this year with Global Citizen to host a Youth and Activism program to highlight the global leadership of young people and their influence on climate action. Alexandria Villaseñor, 14-year-old climate activist and Founder of Earth Uprising and Fridays for Future, will be speaking at The Climate Decade event at The Hub during Climate Week NYC on Wednesday, September 25th, alongside government ministers and business chiefs. Ahead of the strikes, she said:
"My generation has brought climate action into the spotlight this year because we know it will affect us the most. We're done waiting for our leaders to act and although we can't vote, we're making our voices heard by striking and taking direct action to protect our futures. Our movement has grown so big and so fast that we're approaching a tipping point. Soon, world leaders won't be able to avoid taking climate action because we'll be in the streets, in the courts and in their offices until they do!"
Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington state and co-chair of The Under2 Coalition, a group of ambitious state and regional governments committed to climate action, said:
"Young people around the world know their future is at stake if we don’t act now on climate. They are demanding to be heard and their leadership is shifting the debate and compelling action. We are all accountable to these voices and are responsible for protecting the world they will inherit."
For media interviews please email: Katie Rogers or email@example.com
The Climate Group commissioned Populus to undertake market research among 1,024 16 to 24-year olds in the U.S. The data included quotas by age, gender, and region, and was weighted to be nationally representative. The online research was conducted between August 23rd-28th 2019. Data tables are available on request and will be published online.
By Jakob Askou Bøss, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Stakeholder Relations at Ørsted
The world needs to cut projected carbon emissions in half by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The most important task ahead is to replace fossil fuels with green energy.
Fossil fuels cause 75% of global carbon emissions, predominantly in the global energy system. This means 10 years of tough choices for governments, people and companies. But it is doable. A decade ago, we decided to change our company from black to green energy. Earlier this year, Ørsted was named the most sustainable energy company in the world and today, Ørsted is an example of how green business is also good business.
Back in 2006, Ørsted, formerly DONG Energy, was one of the most fossil-intensive utilities in Europe. We operated combined heat and power stations in Denmark, drilled for oil and gas in the North Sea, and sold and distributed power and gas to end customers in Denmark. Our power and heat production were based on coal, oil and natural gas, with less than 15% of renewable energy in our portfolio.
In 2008 we decided to change that. We rescoped our company completely to go all in on green. We did so because of the early but growing societal focus on climate change, which we believed would fundamentally challenge and over time erode our fossil-based business model. At the same time, we could see that continuing our business would harm the planet.
Our rationale for changing to green energy was clear: we could invest in offshore wind farms, which would have a bright future and support the way society was moving, or we could invest in coal-fired power plants, which would be burning coal for 40 to 50 years, experience increasing societal resistance and fundamentally harm the planet.
So, instead of fighting change, we decided to change ourselves. We came to that conclusion by shifting our point of view from inside out to looking at how our business could change to play a positive role in the world. That’s when we decided to go green.
Today, we are a leading global renewable energy company driven by a vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy. We are the global market leader in offshore wind and have installed around one third of the world’s offshore wind capacity. Offshore wind farms built by Ørsted bring clean power to more than 12 million people and avoid 6.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions a year. Since 2006, we have reduced the carbon intensity of our energy generation by 83% and we will reach 98% by 2025, making our power and heat production essentially carbon-free.
GREEN BUSINESS IS GOOD BUSINESS
Committing to green was a risky decision ten years ago when renewable energy generation was much more expensive than conventional power plants. However, we have helped to change that and demonstrated that the business case for transitioning to renewables is strong. Since 2012, we have helped reduce the levelised cost of electricity from offshore wind by more than 60%. It is now cheaper to build and operate offshore wind farms in Europe than new-built power plants running on coal, gas or nuclear.
Likewise, U.S. states are now rapidly increasing their demand for renewable energy. They do not only do so as part of a climate action agenda – they look to renewables because it has become the cheaper energy alternative.
And costs are likely to decline even further as the global build-out rate of offshore wind accelerates. Towards 2025, Ørsted plans to invest more than USD 30 billion in deploying renewable energy at scale.
The upcoming ‘Climate Decade’ will be challenging with tough decisions to be made. But our world desperately needs action. Good news is that it is indeed possible to change from fossil to green energy and cut carbon emissions by 50% or more in ten years. It will, most likely, even be the best business decision too, because it will bring about the innovation and corporate renewal needed for companies that will have to transform their business models to stay competitive in a post-fossil world.
It’s great to see companies proactively working to reduce their carbon emissions by pledging to go 100% renewable, through initiatives such as The Climate Group’s RE100 program.
At Ørsted, we are excited to join Climate Week NYC 2019. This year, to help speed up green action globally, we will invite everyone to take an outside-in look at our common home, planet Earth. We look forward to sharing what we have learned from transforming from black to green energy in the last 10 years – and to sharing our optimism that it is indeed possible to make even the biggest changes in a decade.
NEW YORK, New York - September 16, 2019 - Today Beautiful Destinations announced a media partnership with Climate Week NYC, taking place from Sept 23-27.
Beautiful Destinations is a global travel brand voted by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies in the world. Focused on inspiring people to have a positive impact on the world through travel, Beautiful Destinations works with destinations, airlines, hotel partners and more, to drive sustainable tourism through breakthrough strategy and storytelling –– be it premium content on social media, or fully integrated marketing campaigns. Having built one of the largest social media tourism communities in the world with over 22 million people on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Weibo following @BeautifulDestinations, the company lives and breathes tourism and knows how to mobilize an engaged community to travel sustainably.
“We are immensely proud of our partnership with Climate Week NYC as we come together to raise awareness of the critical situation our planet is in. We passionately believe that sustainable tourism must be the future of our industry and are committed to using our digital influence and resources to help support the environment,” says CEO Jeremy Jauncey.
As a media partner, Beautiful Destinations will create content for Climate Week and promote the event through their social media channels to a community of over 22M+ millennial and Gen Z fans across the world.
More importantly, Beautiful Destinations will create a groundbreaking social activation to challenge young people to travel sustainably in their own lives, by giving them the knowledge, information and tools they need to understand how their behavior can have a long lasting impact and change our world.
Climate change, and the effect that travel has on the planet, is often a conversation reserved for top political and government leaders. However, Beautiful Destinations aims to change the dialogue by engaging younger audiences in a fun, relatable, and creative way. “We want to empower people to travel sustainably in their own lives and be aware of the ways they can have a positive impact in the world through travel,” says Jauncey.
For Beautiful Destinations, this is a pivotal step in elevating the issue and inspiring today’s young travelers to consider the people, places, and planet impacted by their travel decisions.