Is a sustainable Black Friday possible?

This week our mailboxes, tv screens, and social media feeds were once again flooded by marketing messages announcing this very important day. A day on which we celebrate consumerism in its nastiest form: Black Friday. Retailers throw huge discounts and free products at us, all hoping to sell us products we often don’t even want or need.

But not all companies support this overconsumption frenzy. A growing movement of impact brands chooses not to contribute to a day that stimulates overconsumption, normalizes throwaway culture, and has devastating environmental effects (think of all the packaging, transport, landfilled returns,…). As a counterreaction, they joined forces in initiatives like ‘Green Friday’, ‘Circular Monday,’ and ‘Buy nothing day’.

 

So how are brands combatting the system and using their voice to create change?

Alternatives to shopping

Extending the life of products is one of the best ways to minimize their impact. That is why Secrid, a Dutch wallet manufacturer striving for zero waste production, is offering free repairs of their products on ‘Green Friday’.The foldable bike company, Brompton, on the other hand, is incentivizing people to swap shopping for riding by making their Brompton Bike Hire completely free in the UK.

No discounts at all

Fairphone is offering its customers 0% off everything. A tempting offer isn’t it? With this message they make customers ask themselves ‘do I really need this?’. A question we should ask ourselves before we buy anything.

Donating

In 2016 Patagonia set the tone by donating 100% of their Black Friday sales, a whopping $10 million (!), to charity. All sorts of brands have followed their lead since. Including Pukka Herbs donating 100% of sales in 2018, and smaller companies like Belgian eco webshop Kudzu donating €2 per purchase to plant trees.

Closing stores

Another remarkable trend is companies closing their stores on Black Friday. Some brands taking this approach to combat overconsumption are bag manufacturer Freitag, vegan sneaker producer Flamingos’ Life, plant-based cheese maker Willicroft, and circular jeans brand MUD jeans.

Share your message

Changing consumer behavior and creating awareness around topics like over-consumption are hard things to do. But if every brand contributes to sharing this message, the reach of our impact community is endless. This year fellow B Corp ECOALF did an incredible job by creating this amazing poetic video “The Pile”.

Will your company be part of this movement and help #blackoutblackfriday?

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