Black Friday has made an uprising in Europe in the last few years. Black Friday is always on the last Friday of November. It originates back to the United States, where Black Friday is the first day after the Thanksgiving holiday. On this day, many people are free and together with family, which is a perfect moment to go and start their early holiday shopping. Stores started to catch on the holiday shopping and decided to make special offers solely for that day. Nowadays, Black Friday has become one of the biggest shopping holidays. Lots of stores even start their sale on the Monday of that same week, which means that it has become a week full of sales on different items. However, the rise of Black Friday has also brought a lot of negative side effects.
Black Friday and the environment
The most popular products that are bought on Black Friday are electronics and clothes. We all know that the fashion industry and electronics are the most polluting industries in the world. A large number of clothes and electronics end up in landfills. That those two product types are mostly bought on Black Friday is very worrying.
On Black Friday, people spend around 72% more money than on a normal weekend. Over the last few years, most of the Black Friday purchases are bought online. This means that many packages are sent and returned. This causes an enormous amount of emissions, which is very harmful to our earth.
The cheaper, the better. That’s what it’s all about on Black Friday. People buy a lot of products for the cheapest prices. The effect of Black Friday on the environment is therefore enormous. Eventually, somebody has to pay the price. These are most likely the factory workers who work overtime in horrible circumstances to make all the products for Black Friday and the environment that has to endure all emissions and pollution. Black Friday is not about the quality of the products, but the quantity. The more, the better.
Black Friday and small businesses
Black Friday is even more harmful to small businesses. There is a lot of competition surrounding Black Friday. Companies make up the biggest sales to compete with other companies. A lot of big companies buy a lot of items for a very cheap price, just to sell them for really cheap prices on Black Friday. Small businesses can not afford to do this. Most small businesses sell handcrafted, high quality and unique pieces for a fair price. Most of the small businesses can’t afford to join all the crazy Black Friday sales because of this. They will either make no profit or even lose money.
We have a very important mission: “Encouraging people to live and consume more sustainably and to generate curiosity and appreciation for craftsmanship.” Black Friday does not stand for this at all, thus we will not partake in Black Friday, but in Green Friday. This is an initiative from the company Trees for All to encourage people and companies to invest in a more sustainable earth. Their goal is to plant 50.000 trees to help and make the earth a greener place. With this initiative, they want to turn Black Friday into a Green Friday. Want to know more? Check out their website!
How can you help?
Here are a few tips on how you can help the earth, factory workers and small businesses during (and after) Black Friday:
- Participate in Small Business Saturday: This is the Saturday after Black Friday and is an initiative to encourage people to buy from small businesses.
- Participate in Buy Nothing Day: This day is on the same day as Black Friday and is a protest against consumerism.
- Consume ethical, local and sustainable and encourage the people around you to do so as well.
- Use what you already have before buying anything new, this is one the most sustainable you can do.
- Buy secondhand. You can go thrifting with friends and discover a lot of different treasures.