65% of Korea’s Millennials, Gen Z choose ethical consumption over price: Survey

Respondents chose Samsung, SK, LG, Ottogi, Yuhan-Kimberly, Pulmuone and Hyundai Motor as among the top environment-social-governance-conscious companies.

Jung Min-kyung

Jung Min-kyung

The Korea Herald


Visitors shop at the Lotte World Mall in Eastern Seoul (Yonhap)

April 4, 2022

SEOUL – Some 65 percent of South Korean millennials — roughly those born in the 1980s and ’90s — said they would buy products manufactured by ethical businesses even if they are more expensive than nonethical ones, a survey showed Sunday.

In a survey conducted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry with 380 young people last month, 64.5 percent of respondents said they would choose products from businesses that uphold environmental, social and governance values over price.

Some 4 percent said they are willing to pay over 10 percent more for the product, while 65.7 percent said they would pay less than an additional 5 percent. Some 30 percent chose between the range of 5 percent and 10 percent.

Of the ESG values the respondents believed businesses should uphold the most, more than half, or 51.3 percent, chose transparent and ethical management. Job creation followed at 28.9 percent and environmental protection came No. 3 with 13.2 percent.

The respondents chose Samsung, SK, LG, Ottogi, Yuhan-Kimberly, Pulmuone and Hyundai Motor as among the top ESG-conscious companies here.

To accelerate the adoption of ESG values for businesses, 38.4 percent of respondents said overall social consciousness on the matter must be improved. Some 28 percent called for the government’s legal support and measures, while 27.6 percent said conglomerates have to lead the movement through their example.

“Consumerism based on belief has been spreading with the millennials and Gen Z who put their mental satisfaction before prices having risen as key consumers,” Rhee Jay-hyuk, a business professor at Korea University, said in a report tied to the survey.

“Businesses must pay more attention to ESG management with the consumers now paying more attention to the related issues,” he added.

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