Climate communication: Reaching youth starts with active listening

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By Geert Stox and Kacper Wozniak

It has never been easier to reach so many people, yet it’s challenging to build strong relationships with Gen Z—even though they were born in the age of social media and online technology.

So before talking “at” this generation about climate change, it’s important for European institutions to put in the time to listen to what they have to say for themselves. When engaging with young climate activists, it’s important to practice active listening: listening with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply.

Our research shows Gen Z is using their voices and purchasing power to hold companies to higher standards, and they can even influence crucial political decisions. In this report, we present the latest insights on how to effectively communicate with these young citizens:

  • Who is the persona of a typical Gen Zer?
  • Why are some campaigns successful in reaching Gen Z?
  • What are the "dos and don'ts" when reaching out to Gen Z?
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Climate translates into a key area that is high on the agenda for Gen Z across the world. Whilst there are regional differences in the way issues are presented, and the extent to which accessible and relevant information is available, the global youth population has demonstrated their commitment to climate action.

Understanding the extent to which they have the ability to engage with, influence and contribute towards progress is key. By achieving this, we can ensure that they become advocates of action at regional, sub-regional and national levels, and that we create a legacy for them to build upon.

Meet the authors
  1. Geert Stox, Head of Strategy, ICF Next

    Geert is a strategic communications and brand management expert with more than 25 years of experience in global brands, innovation, and consumer behavior. View bio

  2. Kacper Wozniak, Senior Strategic Advisor

    Kacper is a digital marketing and brand strategy expert with over 15 years of experience leading communication agencies in Belgium. View bio