Bank accounts trump broccoli for Gen Z shoppers

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 1st May 2024

It’s said they are the first generation to experience the impacts of climate change, and the last generation that has the power to do something about it.

New research reveals the future health of the planet is becoming a determining factor when it comes to Gen Z’s financial choices.

The survey from research specialists MSi-ACI. reveals that the sustainable and ethical credentials of financial services products are more important to Gen Z in the UK (18-34 year olds) than older purchasers.

While people aged over 55 are most interested in how sustainable their fruit and veg or coffee is, 57 per cent of Gen Z rate the ethics of their bank ahead of all other purchases and considerations. Gen Z place a similar importance on the ethical credentials of a potential mortgage provider, with 47 per cent of 18-34 year olds saying this is a deciding factor compared to 27 per cent of  those aged over 55.

With younger people today looking to the future and working out what savings or mortgage products might be needed, correlating that with the worrying decline of the climate, they want assurances that their financial purchasing decisions align with their other lifestyle choices, as well as their personal values.

Above all, they want to know the financial products they choose won’t make climate change worse. As digital natives and savvy about how the world works, they are highly informed about how big business traditionally invests. This data shows they are clearly prepared to vote with their conscience when it comes to who looks after their money – and who they will borrow from.

The figures also show that those aged 55+ also place greater emphasis on the affordability of sustainable products (54 per cent) compared to 37 per cent  of those aged 18-34. Sixty per cent of those aged over 55s said the provenance of the clothes they buy sways their decisions, compared to 54 per cent among younger shoppers.

Thomas Panton, founder and CEO of sustainable marketplace, said: “We’re seeing a huge increase in customers prioritising sustainability in their shopping, so it’s more important than ever to provide clarity to customers, or risk the consequences. We must focus on educating, connecting with people on the issues that are important to them, and ultimately break down the barriers to access.”

Here are our top financial options for Gen Z:

Cleo – the AI assistant dedicated to personal finance, Cleo offers a range of financial products and tools, from budgeting to saving, cash advances to credit building.

Emma – a paid for, membership model that helps users build credit, save more and spend less.

SuperFi – a new for 2024 app that allows users to view and manage their bills and debt in one place with the aim of keeping them out of problem debt.

Zero* – launching later this year, Zero is an app and debit card designed for the generation that needs to put the planet first. It will offer all the tools and tips of other digital banking options while at the same time empowering users to better understand and act on their personal environmental impact.

Financielle – a female-focused financial wellbeing app designed to help users take back control of their money and be financially well. 

PensionBee – a Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ firm that allows users to manage their private pension online: combine old pots, contribute regularly, or withdraw cash. Offers a range of sustainable pension plans.

QuirkMoney – after self-identifying their money persona, Quirk allows users to learn, track and manage their money on an app giving unique financial strategies based on their money psychology.

Your Juno – a financial education platform for women and non-binary people. Your Juno is a free app which guides users how to make more, spend less and feel financially confident.

Keebo – bills itself as the credit card to start building credit, it uses open banking data to offer personalised credit to people who don’t have a credit score; applications for the card don’t  impact a user’s credit score.

Shares – backed by the Williams sisters, shares is an FCA regulated investment app that allows users to invest in more than 1500 US listed stocks based on other users’ insights and strategies.

Cushon –  a work-based platform offering ISAs, workplace pensions and other financial products – including sustainably-focused ones.

*Lisa Stanley Mann is co-founder of Good With Money and Chief Sustainability Officer at Zero

Don't miss the good stuff!

Sign up for the newest and best green money deals in your inbox every week