How GenerationWhyNot are Leading Change

Today’s generation of kids are engaged and standing up to make their voices heard, and they’re starting to successfully fight for change, most recently in the kids magazine industry.

Today’s generation of kids are engaged and standing up to make their voices heard, and they’re starting to successfully fight for change, most recently in the kids magazine industry.

Waitrose has just announced it will ditch kids’ magazines with plastic disposable toys to help tackle pollution. The move was inspired by Skye, a 10-year-old from Gwynedd, who launched a campaign to persuade publishers to stop giving away plastic toys in magazines. Thanks to Skye, Waitrose will be removing magazines containing “pointless plastic” and urging publishers to replace them with sustainable alternatives. The Welsh Government has also said Skye’s plea could help Wales become a waste-free nation.

“I hope all retailers can do the same and then the publishers will realise this is not acceptable anymore. We really like the magazines – we just don’t want or need the plastic packaging or the cheap plastic toys,” Skye says. 

This isn’t the first kid-led campaign against plastic that’s made brands listen. An inspiring campaign by two sisters, Ella and Caitlin McEwan, in 2019 led Burger King to remove plastic toys from their kids’ meals and McDonald’s shift to give kids the option of mini books with their famous Happy Meals. 

This is a clear example of how engaged and socially conscious Gen Alpha is. From our research and speaking to kids regularly, we’ve seen how prominent this is first hand, which is why we’ve coined the name GenerationWhyNot. This is a cohort who are informed and ready to challenge the system on the issues that matter to them. Their exposure to the topic of climate change through influencers and high-profile figures such as Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough has meant they are forming their own opinions and are more passionate than ever before. 

Young people see activism not just as large-scale protests, but in small everyday acts to help reach a global goal. They are impatient to see results and are full of questions, predominantly, why not do more? Their goal is to be part of the global conversation and to make an impact by stepping up and taking responsibility themselves.

“This is a generation that cares about animals and wants to know how their behaviours can have a positive impact. They have the platforms to make their voices heard and are pushing for change.” Rebecca Stringer, KidsKnowBest Research Director

In a recent study we undertook, 2 in 3 kids said recycling was the best activity to help the planet. We also learned that kids are aware their toys could be more sustainable if they weren’t made of plastic. As a result, kids like Skye are challenging policy, sparking conversations and driving change. So how can brands engage this audience and help support their cause? 

“In science, we are learning about animals and that we should put stuff in the bin and not in the sea. We should be recycling things.” Girl, 6

When it comes to brands who want to build long-lasting relationships with this generation, now is the time to listen. By understanding what kids want and need, there’s an opportunity for brands to create, design, and innovate with them in mind. By aligning our values to the kids of today’s, brands and businesses will be ahead of the curve. 

There are already several brands like Waitrose that are listening to kids and making changes to align with this socially liberal, inclusive, and eco-conscious market demographic better. Along with a surge of kids’ written and video content tackling the topic of the climate crisis, it is encouraging to see the kids’ space creating dialogue around issues that matter to their younger audiences. 

Kids are ambitious, optimistic, and want to be heard. Our job right now is to listen, learn and act. 

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