Why Zoomers Like Sustainability Labels

October 30th, 2023

power of lables

Meet the Zoomers. No, I’m not talking about the family next door.

“Zoomers” refers to Generation Z – those born between 1997 and 2012. They will make up 30% of the US workforce in the next two or three years and are known to be the most environmentally focused generation we have ever had, and they look for sustainability labels when making purchases.

This is why manufacturers and marketers across various industries must pay close attention to their preferences regarding products and brands. Zoomers value sustainability and prefer brands that prioritize sustainability in all aspects, including:

  • Protecting the environment
  • Fair staff treatment
  • Community involvement
  • Legal and equitable profits

Further, building a sustainability-focused brand can create long-lasting bonds, trust, and loyalty with Zoomers, helping your brand stand out among competitors. But to communicate your brand’s sustainability practices, manufacturers and marketers must turn to labels to convey the message.

To understand just how important the connection is between your label, your sustainability practices, and your brand, we interviewed Kevin Florence, the CEO of General Paper Goods Company and President of Genflex Labeling Solutions. In a question-and-answer format, here is the gist of our conversation:

Kevin, what are sustainability labels?

Sustainability labels inform consumers and other groups about the environmental impacts of producing or using a product. Today, a brand’s commitment to adopting eco-conscious practices is crucial not only for the environment but also for your company’s image and reputation.

The label may provide valuable information such as the absence of harmful ingredients used to make the product, the manufacturer’s support for fair-trade practices, or the use of only renewable resources.

Zoomers look for these labels. They demand that the companies they purchase from are environmentally responsible.  And because of their growing numbers, the use of sustainability labels has increased significantly.

And one more thing:  It is essential to ensure that this information is boldly presented, visible, and easy to find – not hidden in the small print.  

Can the sustainability label itself meet environmentally responsible and sustainability criteria?

Yes, it can. Eco-friendly labels use adhesives that release fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere as well as limit the number of toxins released into our soil and water. The label can be made of recycled paper or other recycled materials and may also be recyclable for other purposes. Further, more inks made from renewable resources are now available, which have a reduced impact on the environment compared to petroleum-based inks.

You say sustainability labels can be used for marketing. Could you go into more detail?

Certainly. Here are a few things to consider:

Don’t be shy. Earlier, I said the manufacturer must “boldly” describe how and why the product is eco-friendly and meets commonly accepted sustainability criteria. That means this information must be obvious. The label should be designed so that the environmental and sustainability features and benefits of the product are easily recognizable and catch the customer’s eye.

Help the consumer become a recycling partner. On August 9, 2023, the Consumer Brands Association and The Recycling Partnership joined forces to provide consumers with information and instruction on how to recycle packaging and products in different areas of the country. Representing once again the marketing potential of labels, this information can be stored in the QR code on the label. Consumers can scan the code with a smartphone and enter their zip code to reveal clear instructions as to how, whether, and where to recycle a product in their area. Zoomers really appreciate this.

Educate the consumer about your brand. Those nifty QR codes can be used for other purposes as well. Use them to advertise your company and your sustainability efforts. Tell Zoomers all the steps your company has taken over the years to help protect our planet and all living things.

Many times, the best way to do this is not necessarily with words, but with a graphic connected to the QR code. When it comes to sustainability and labels, a picture can replace a thousand words.

Genflex Labeling Solutions has been a leading provider of packaging and labeling solutions for over 90 years. We are dedicated to helping your brand and your products succeed. Discover more about General Paper Company here.