Children’s consumption habits are changing and a new generation of consumers are looking to become leaders in shopping sustainably, is the message to emerge from day one of two of this week’s Sustainability in Licensing Conference.
An opening presentation given by The Insights Family’s chief product officer, Jonathan Watson, highlighted that today’s children will be the next leaders in sustainability, and that it was the responsibility of the kids’ entertainment industry to “empower them to do so.”
The two day Sustainability in Licensing Conference (SILC21) kicked off on Thursday, June 24th with a line up of representatives and change makers from across industries, including those from The Eden Project, Tesco, and George at Asda among others, each showcasing the latest developments in the nationwide (and global) drive for better sustainability practices within the business of consumer products.
The session was opened with a presentation from the insights and family intelligence specialist, The Insight Family who offered a deep dive into the most recent data from across the global markets on the children’s and family sector’s relationship with the topic of environmentalism and sustainability.
Key to the presentation were findings around children’s growing understanding of the sustainability conversation, highlighting that it was now a global concern for kids aged six to 12, and that this was filtering down to spending habits today.
Currently over 45 per cent of children aged six to 18 in the UK say they would spend more on something that is environmentally friendly or sustainable. At the same time, youngsters are engaging with the topic far more actively across social media platforms such as Twtich and Discord as they seek out like-minded individuals to talk about the topics.
“Far from being passive observers, kids are thinking about their purchases more than ever, and becoming leaders in sustainable consumption,” said Watson. “Many are now willing to pay an increased price, showing how building sustainability into your business can not only result in increased brand advocacy and financial growth, but can save the planet along the way.”
The discussion spanned the topics of food consumption – the environment is now a major consideration for 22 per cent of UK children’s food choices – to the removal of children’s magazines containing plastic throw-away toys from Waitrose.
“Data has shown that 32 per cent of parents who shop at Waitrose say the environment is their biggest concern. That’s twice as many as the average,” explained Watson. “They are more likely to be the parents teaching their kids about their actions and the environment.
“Likewise, we asked kids why they purchase a magazine. The number that say it’s for the free toy on the front has been reducing over the last few quarters. However, it is still the number one reason for their choice.”
This will be a conflict that many brands in the children’s magazine sector will have to negotiate over the next few years.
Watson concluded: “Making sustainability easier for kids, teens and parents to understand is imperative. It’s important to be empathetic, practical and inclusive of parents so that consumers feel like they are empowered.
“Kids want to make a change, and we need to make it easier for them to do this.”
The Sustainability in Licensing Conference will continue today with speakers from ZURU Toys and LEGO taking to the stage among others.