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How does the usage of marketing sustainability via social media affect female Generation Z and Millennials’ tendency to purchase products?

Project by Polygence alum Lillian

How does the usage of marketing sustainability via social media affect female Generation Z and Millennials’ tendency to purchase products?

Project's result

They started it from zero. Are you ready to level up with us?


In 2018, Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, revealed “its fourth consecutive year of growth for its ‘sustainable living’ brands, which grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of its turnover growth.”  “Sustainability” is defined as the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Sustainable living is a common topic on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, reeling in younger generations. As of 2021, 78% of Generation Z shoppers purchased an item advertised on social media. Additionally,  22% of Millennials in a survey conducted by Statista considered sustainability when purchasing products, followed by 18% of Generation Z. Through social media, brands are able to target younger audiences and capitalize on the appeal of buying sustainable products. However, many companies are not truthful about their sustainability or eco-friendly practices when advertising their lifestyle goods, like makeup and clothing. This practice is known as “greenwashing,” where companies misrepresent or exaggerate their eco-friendly practices and sustainability goals.  Greenwashing is extremely deceptive and can lead consumers to purchase products from companies that are scamming them. This lead the researcher to conduct a survey measuring how the consumer behavior of Generation Z and Millennials are affected by sustainability advertisements, whether truthful or not. This survey will also explore the extent to which these consumers are willing to buy sustainably and whether their stated beliefs are proven through their purchasing actions. The researcher hypothesizes that Millennial females with higher disposable incomes will be more likely to purchase products advertised because the Millennial generation has shown more concern statistically for sustainability, and with higher disposable incomes, they have the financial means to purchase sustainable products even if they are more expensive.



Polygence mentor

Industry expert


Quantitative, Business, Psychology


Behavioral Economics, Environmental Justice, Social Psychology




Hi! My name is Lillian and my project is about how advertising sustainability affects the purchasing behavior of Gen Z and Millennial women. Now that my project is done, I am hoping to continue researching different aspects of marketing and their effects on female purchasing behavior through a marketing major in higher education!


Palo Alto High School

Graduation Year


Project review

“My mentor Riya was amazing.”

About my mentor

“She was open to all my questions, guided me without giving me answers, gave me enough space to navigate on my own but was there to support me when I needed her, provided very helpful advice, and was always open to new ideas.”