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At every end of November, two of the most contradictory holidays are happening back to back? While Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about sharing, care, interpersonal connections and relationships, Black Friday stands for quite the opposite purpose, meaning individual-focused actions. Companies are slashing prices, cutting back costs and we as consumers - all we do is staying up late after Thanksgiving dinner browsing for deals. But what’s so bad about snapping up a good deal once a year? This is what we explain in this article as well as give you a list of great stores, where you can shop more sustainably this Black Friday.
In this article:
The problem begins from the fact that consumers buy goods regardless of their needs. Take a moment to check a genre of youtube videos called “Black Friday haul”. It’s a trend where people sit down and share all the things they purchased on Black Friday. And guess what. They’re A LOT.
Black Friday Haul Youtube Video
The videos depict the problem of unconsciously buying things just because they’re discounted. Obviously, this mindset brings serious consequences to the society itself, to the workers trying to cope with enormous amounts of orders and of course has advert effects on the planet.
The first thing on the consequences list is shipping. We’ve all seen manic scenes of shoppers running in the stores on Black Friday and fighting for a single TV screen. But the situation has changed after the COVID-19 pandemic when consumers were pushed to shop online more than ever. Black Friday 2020 was a record-breaking year for online shopping with over 100 million consumers shopping online, spending $9.03 billion in online sales.
With all of our shopping being done online, a huge amount of stuff has to be shipped across the world simply because where the item is being made and where it is being shipped may be hundreds of kilometers away. Transportation generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions (29% according to the 2019 report), due to burning fossil fuel for trucks, ships, trains, and planes.
These are unavoidable elements of each online purchase. They are usually made of plastic because it’s cheap, light and companies can make a profit out of it very easily. Plastic is made of oil, it has a very low recycling rate and remains on earth forever because it can not break down naturally. Wrapping, compounded with the enormous issue of textile waste, unwanted gifts ending in the landfills, cheaply made items that never last more than one year, all lead to an enormous waste problem that according to some environmentalists has no solution.
Black Friday enhances the consumerism mindset which also affects the planet. Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other prime days are using the same strategies to promote their sales, by drastically reducing prices on a certain amount of desirable items, hoping that you will leave your basket with more items than you planned to shop.
“What I’ve been most interested in is what’s in the (customer) basket. You look at the people who you know came out for a specific, but then they’ve actually taken the time to shop other categories, which is really important. The fear here is seeing baskets or carts with one item.”
- Target CEO, Brian Cornell
This means that advertisement creates us year-round desires for objects we don’t really need. A cycle of “created wants” as Chomsky would say that leads to buying more and more every year.
It would be interesting to see how people correspond to this sales cycle. Does a typical Black Friday consumer care about sustainability while adding new items to the basket? We’re afraid that the following stats will send us some negative vibes.
IMI International (2020) Wave 11: Global Recovery & 2nd Wave, Key Trends, Sentiment/Expectation, Recovery Playbook, p. 114
A survey conducted in 2020 by IMI International - an independent marketing consultant agency, tried to identify the general intent of Americans for shopping during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. In other words, which criteria played a significant role in the purchase decision-making during Black Friday. Apparently, the top reason consumers care for is sales. Besides this pretty reasonable fact, we see that only 7% of respondents consider “being sustainable” as one of the main purposes to buy a product on a Black Friday and only 5% answer that “being eco-friendly” is noteworthy to them.
The answer is simple: No! We are not here to point fingers saying that you should not buy anything on Black Friday and miss a good chance to save some money. All we say through this article is shop, save, but do it sustainably!
Most probably brands will try to convince you that you will never see another deal like this. Try to step away from these stressing red sale tags and labels (“limited time only”, “Hurry up!” “Only while supplies last”), calm down and give time to yourself to decide what you really need and how your cart choices can have a good impact on the environment. Remember that it’s up to us to change the existing consumer culture. Even if we can not radically change the whole profit-centric system that runs the world, our individual behavior as consumers will definitely contribute to the creation of a more eco-conscious Friday, that is definitely not Black. Take responsibility over your purchases and shop from brands that are putting effort to make a change not only on Black Friday but year-round.
According to a Blackfriday.com research in 2020 consumers prefer to style themselves and their homes during Black Friday. 50% of 1000 American consumers voted clothing as the top shopping category from September to late November. In case you also consider upgrading your closet this Black Friday, check out the following brand list to support ethical companies while enjoying great discounts on products that won’t harm your pocket or the environment. They may not have flashy ads online or on the TV, but they will definitely save you some money.
Amour Vert Fashion
Ethics | Plant-based and organic fabrics, planting trees, eco-friendly packaging
Based in | San Francisco, U.S.
Best for | Signature fabrics sustainable collections, using TENCEL, ethically-made wool and organic cottonseed Cupro
Product range | Sustainable clothes, shoes and accessories
Our top pick | We recommend checking out the Zero-Waste Collection. Browse clothes made from plant-based fabrics that don’t pollute our planet with excess textile waste
Prices start from | $18
Black Friday 2020 | Amour Vert offered 25% off markdowns sitewide
Black Friday 2021 | This year Amour Vert runs a "Spend more, save more" sale, where you can save at least 30% on your order. And if you spend $500, you'll get a huge 50% off. No code needed
Amour Vert means "Green Love" in French, a name that reflects everything this brand stands for, i.e love for nature and sustainability. Since 2010, this brand is producing pioneering, new-technology fashion items and is constantly working on eco-conscious business practices. The brand is also collaborating with American Forests, contributing to planting more trees every time you purchase a t-shirt.
Ethics | Sustainable and innovative technology, water-saving, recycling, fair wages
Based in | New York, U.S.
Best for | Premium sustainable denim made of recycled and renewable fabrics
Product range | Sustainable denim garments for all body shapes, including tops, dresses, jackets and accessories
Our top pick | At Moincoins we are pet lovers. Keep your fluffy friend warm and stylish in winter with DL1961’s adorable canine denim jacket.
Prices start from | $100
Black Friday 2020 | DL1961 offered multiple discounts on jeans, cutting off prices from $178 to $99
Black Friday 2021 | You can knock up to 60% off sale items with code THANKFUL2021
DL1961 is a family-owned company that since 2008 has been developing sustainable manufacturing practices to make its jeans more eco-friendly and less water-wasting. DL1961 is taking your old jeans and plastic bottles and turning them into your favorite high-performance denim. The fabric is constructed and hand-finished using waterless lasers and new ozone technologies, which are fully compliant with International Social & Environmental Quality Standards. Why not replace your regular jean, which takes about 1500 gallons of water to be produced with DL1961 denim that takes less than 10 and do some good to the planet?
Ethics | Moving to more sustainable materials, reducing the use of resources, ethical trading policy
Based in | UK
Best for | Rainwear
Product range | Joules designs and sells clothing, footwear, accessories, homeware, gifting and lifestyle product collections for the whole family
Our top pick | Heart-melting Mini Me collection of Joules for same pattern clothes for moms or dads and kids. Fathers and sons can choose from a great variety of products, including polo shirts and shorts, while moms and daughters can shop for bright printed dresses, tops, boots and more
Prices start from | $3.95
Black Friday 2020 | Joules offered up to 25% discount on head-to-toe looks for women, men and kids
Black Friday 2021 | Joules offers up to 60% on selected items, plus 25% off everything with the code FRIYAY25
Joules was founded in the British countryside back in 1989. It aims to create clothes that are fun, colorful, embracing all seasons, all body and all members of a family. Joules hand-painted prints, created by its in-house artists, have timeless style with contemporary twists. Both for sunny and rainy days it offers you pieces from lightweight shirts, dresses and tops to high-performing rainwear. It’s a brand working towards more sustainable practices and promising that 100% of its cotton will be sustainable by 2022.
Ethics | Ethical supply chain, fair labor, slow production
Based in | New York, U.S.
Best for | Timeless design shirts that never go out of style
Product range | The most elegant garments made of 100% organic cotton that stand up to the highest standards of design and sustainability. From dresses to shirts and tunics you can shop for minimalistic style items that will last in time.
Our top pick | We recommend shopping GRAMMAR’s shirts that are made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric and will give a minimal touch to your wardrobe.
Prices start from | $25
Black Friday 2020 | Looks like GRAMMAR didn’t participate in Black Friday sales last year, but you could still save using cash back deals
Black Friday 2021 | GRAMMAR doesn't participate in Black Friday 2021, but you can always save 10% on your order when you sign up to the brand's newsletter
GRAMMAR was launched in 2017 to provide women with comfortable and elegant organic cotton wardrobe essentials. While it never compromises quality, its garments follow sustainability standards and are made of 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric, sourced from an ethical producer in India. Its shirts are locally produced in small batches to minimize the environmental impact.
Paneros Clothing Fashion
Ethics | Ethical manufacturing, eco-friendly fibers, slow production, waste reduction
Based in | Los Angeles, U.S.
Best for | Sustainable handmade items made from eco-friendly fibers in small batches
Product range | At Paneros Clothing you will find sustainable dresses, sweaters, tops and bottoms as well as shirts for every shape and unique accessories to finish the look
Our top pick | Scrunchies is the new big hair trend. Check Paneros zero-waste scrunchies, made from the leftover fabric scraps of the brand’s tops and dresses. These hair accessories support a healthier planet and make your hair look really cool
Prices start from | $69
Black Friday 2020 | Paneros offered a free set of three sustainable, washable eros face masks (of value $30) with any purchase of $100 or more sitewide
Black Friday 2021 | Looks like Paneros Clothing doesn't participate in the black sale this year. But you can still enjoy 10% off your first order when you sign up to the newsletter
Paneros Clothing was born to create high-quality, one-of-a-kind and limited-edition sustainable pieces. With long-lasting materials and timeless designs, it aims to contribute to a healthier planet. Also, it is committed to creating a more circular and slow fashion brand, that is designing clothes ethically with the help of local artisans and manufacturers. A great bonus - all orders come in eco-friendly packaging.
Ethics | Sustainable materials, slow production, ethical manufacturing, reducing CO2 emissions
Based in | Sweden, Europe
Best for | Sustainable clothes made of organic cotton, recycled wool, traceable merino and recycled cashmere
Product range | Everything you need for a sustainable look. From t-shirts to dresses, sweaters, scarves and knitwear any woman or man can find a unique and soft piece to wear years-long.
Our top pick | It’s definitely time for cozy sweaters. Asket’s cashmere sweaters are made of 97% recycled and mechanically dyed cashmere. It will be super gentle not only to your skin but also to the planet
Prices start from | $45
Black Friday 2020 | Last year was the fourth year in a row when Asket closed its sales for one day. Instead of shopping, Asket invites you to check its garment care portal and learn how to extend the life of the garments that you already own
Black Friday 2021 | Asket is shutting down its website this year to take a stand against the culture that encourages relentless buying
Asket is a sustainable and slow fashion brand with a permanent collection of zero-compromise pieces. By using the finest natural fabrics, partnering exclusively with ethical manufacturers, maximizing the durability of each garment and providing serious end-of-life solutions for your garments, Asket practically shows how eco-conscious every fashion brand should be. Also according to Asket the more we know about our clothes, the better decisions we make. That’s why this brand prioritizes transparency. Every time you shop you have all the necessary information about the product you intend to buy, including garment origin, CO2 impact, detailed description of the materials etc.
Made Trade Fashion
Ethics | Climate-neutral Certified, fair trade, handcrafted, sustainable and recycled materials
Based in | Portland, U.S.
Best for | Women's bamboo or organic cotton clothing at affordable prices
Product range | From sustainable and slow fashion clothing and footwear to home appliances, furniture and gifts - you have a great selection of ethically-made products for you to choose from.
Our top pick | With the holiday shopping season being just around the corner, get inspired by amazing Made Trade’s vegan gift ideas for the people you love.
Prices start from | $27
Black Friday 2020 | Customers could decide if they'd like to get 10% off order with a code or donate the 10% to Urban Gleaners, a non-profit giving healthy meals to food-insecure children and families
Black Friday 2021 | Again you get to decide whether to knock 10% off your order by using the code GET10 or donate the saved amount to Giving Grove, a non-profit dedicated to planting fruit and nut-bearing orchards in urban communities across the U.S.
Fair wages above profit. Sustainability above mass production. Quality above quantity. And transparency above everything. These are the core values of Made Trade - a sustainable online marketplace that was founded in 2018. The best selection of ethically sourced goods, handcrafted by artisans around the world are waiting for you. Clothing, shoes, accessories, home decor, furniture and more items you can choose from to make sustainable choices and save the planet “one ethical piece at a time”. This brand is also Climate-Neutral Certified, as it offsets 100% of carbon emissions for the entire company.
Ethics | Transparency, vegan, slow-fashion
Based in | Los Angeles, U.S.
Best for | Signature black stretch ankle pants made from bamboo and recycled polyester
Product range | At Intention, you can shop for luxurious, sustainable tops, pants, dresses, skirts and jackets for every woman’s shape. Lyocell, organic cotton, bamboo, recycled polyester are the main materials this brand uses to produce its products, while all buttons are made from shells.
Our top pick | Browse eco-friendly pants that feel and look as comfortable as yoga pants. These pants are eco-certified, breathable and ethically sourced. It will definitely be a classic, everlasting essential piece in your closet that will fit every look.
Prices start from | $90
Black Friday 2020 | Looks like Intention Fashion didn’t participate in Black Friday sales last year
Black Friday 2021 | Intention Fashion doesn't participate in Black Friday this year. You can save anyways by signing up for the brand's newsletter
Thoughtfully designed fashion clothes that are timeless, luxurious and crafted to flatter every woman’s shape - that’s what Intention Fashion is all about. Intention is dedicated to being a circular brand that aims to offer reselling and upcycling options soon. This will be a part of the brand’s strategy on the way to becoming carbon-neutral. Until then it ships packages carbon-neutral and promises a user-friendly e-shop to buy sustainable and comfortable essentials for women.
Christy Dawn Fashion
Ethics | Upcycling, ethical working conditions
Based in | Los Angeles, U.S.
Best for | 100% organic cotton clothes that are woven and consciously created in collaboration with Oshadi Collective in Erode, India
Product range | Eco-friendly clothes from women, men and kids, including dresses, bottoms, loungewear, blouses, swimwear, footwear and accessories. There are also shape-related collections, like petite or maternity lines that offer a great variety of different garments.
Our top pick | The Deadstock collection is made from the rescued and revitalized fabrics that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It’s definitely a top pick that will give textile another life cycle.
Prices start from | $98
Black Friday 2020 | Customers could snap up 30% off everything. Additionally, all orders over $100 received a free furoshiki gift wrapping cloth
Black Friday 2021 | Celebrate Black Friday together with Christy Dawn, get up to 40% off selected styles
Christy Dawn is a sustainable fashion brand, committed not only to the planet but also to the people. It emphasizes relationships within the ecosystem we all live in and that’s why it ethically treats all workers - from the farm and weavers in India to designers and photographers in Los Angeles. This brand is using nature-friendly materials, including upcycled fabrics, organic cotton or regeneratively grown cotton and will inspire you with unique, vintage-style pieces. Christy Dawn is putting effort into every single stage of cloth production since all of the dyes are either organic or derived from plants.
Ethics | Organic cotton materials, Fair Trade Certified manufacturing, reducing carbon offset
Based in | Colorado, U.S.
Best for | Practical and comfortable organic cotton clothes
Product range | Comfortable, sustainable and affordable apparel for the whole family. You can also shop for bed and bath products, like duvets, sheet sets and bath towels.
Our top pick | Don’t miss out on the 100 Percent Cotton collection, with tees, tunics and blouses at affordable prices
Prices start from | $25
Black Friday 2020 | Many items were marked down with huge up to 40% off
Black Friday 2021 | This year the entire PACT collection is on sale. You can shop for discounted sustainable fashion from just $20
Since 2009 PACT has been a sustainable fashion brand using exclusively organic cotton, free of toxic chemicals. The cotton is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, ensuring that it uses 91% less water in comparison with non-organic cotton. The brand is also Fair Trade Certified, which means that all workers are fairly paid and treated. Once you decide to shop from this brand you also have the chance to offset the carbon footprint of the shipments, since PACT has partnered with an eco-tech company that calculates the shipment’s distance, offering greener alternatives for delivery. The order will land at your doorstep wrapped in paper made from 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard.
Ethics | Slow fashion, Certified B Corp, harmless substances certified, fair wage
Based in | Toronto, Canada
Best for | Designs that are knit, dyed and sewn locally in Canada. Helps to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the product while not compromising on quality and style.
Product range | Slow fashion thoughtfully made in Canada: tops, bottoms, jackets, dresses, jumpsuits and accessories are available in different sizes, shapes and styles.
Our top pick | Multipacks, meaning bundle products, that will arrive at your doorstep at a cheaper price and lower environmental cost. Choose between scrunchies, t-shirts, leggings and more.
Prices start from | $23
Black Friday 2020 | Encircled had 20% off the Black Friday Collection with no code needed. It also had daily door crasher sales on select pieces from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the discount ranged 15-35% off
Black Friday 2021 | Encircled offers 20% off the Black Friday Collection with no code needed
Encircled Fashion was launched in 2012 and since then it sells soft, comfortable and premium quality clothes, made of the most sustainable and natural fabrics. This brand is knitting and dying locally over 55% of its product range and is certified for not using pesticides and harmful substances. By using Modal - a fabric made of sustainably sourced wood pulp, Tencel - rayon from bamboo which is 100% biodegradable, organic cotton or linen, it offers endless styling options that meet the highest sustainability and quality standards.
Ethics | Vegan, fair wages, recyclable packaging
Based in | Manchester, UK
Best for | Vegan ankle boots that are created and designed from 100% vegan and cruelty-free materials to make a statement
Product range | This footwear brand has amazing women's and men's shoes that are 100% vegan and 100% teenager-friendly. You will find here unisex boots, sandals and trainers, as well as trendy accessories, including earing, necklaces sunglasses, bags, hats and more.
Our top pick | Don't miss the extraordinary collections of Mary Jane and Poppy to take your style to the next level.
Prices start from | $59
Black Friday 2020 | Koi’s Black Friday deal offered 25% off everything with a code. The Black weekend discount was even higher - up to 40% off everything
Black Friday 2021 | This year Koi Footwear offers 65% sitewide including sale items. All discounts are applied automatically
Koi is a vegan unisex footwear brand that was created to reflect your personal style. "Koi", which derives from Japanese "Kon’nichiwa" means "love" and the name stands for showing the brand’s love to people and nature. Koi sells 100% vegan and super durable footwear and accessories that make thousands of customers happy every year. It also partners with ASDA where you can donate your old shoes, contributing to waste reduction and more sustainable practices.
Ethics | Fair trade, carbon-neutral
Based in | Tennessee, U.S.
Best for | Comfortable, functional and ethically made chelsea boots to keep your feet warm during winter
Product range | Boots, sandals, mules, sneakers, high heels, as well as bags, belts, wallets, socks and jewelry are available in different colors, sizes and styles according to your likings
Our top pick | Check out the woven texture collection of shoes with versatile design for any occasion made from high-quality, durable leather (non-vegan)
Prices start from | $69
Black Friday 2020 | This brand offered a discount of 25% off sitewide with a code
Black Friday 2021 | This year you can get 25% off sitewide with code FRIDAY25
The B-Corp and Climate Neutral Certified ethical footwear brand Nisolo was founded back in 2011 to create intentionally designed, ethically made shoes. Most of the products come from its factory based in Peru, but it also sources from other ethical partner factories in Mexico and Kenya. It regularly measures the greenhouse gas emissions from the shoe production process and has a strong recycling program. Entire 95% of its items can be recycled or reused. So far, Nisolo has collected over 5,837 pairs of old shoes from the landfills and it gives them to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries, enabling them to clean, repair, and resell them to make a living.
TORRAIN Bags & Accessories
Ethics | Recycled and upcycled materials, compostable packaging, donations
Based in | Portland, U.S.
Best for | Adventurous and vivid-colored accessories made of upcycled food bags
Product range | Handcrafted recycled bags - backpacks, totes, crossbodies, travel bags and more. The brand also has a collection of wallets and a small clothing line for men and women.
Our top pick | Follow the young trend with a new crossbody - a lightweight day purse, especially comfortable for keeping valuable items on short trips
Prices start from | $12
Black Friday 2020 | TORRAIN ran its sales throughout Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, offering its customers 25% off all online orders with a coupon code
Black Friday 2021 | The brand doesn't run Black Friday sale this year. Yet, you can save 20% on your first order when you sign up for Torrain's newsletter
TORRAIN turns feed bags into our bags, would you ever think that this was possible? Apparently, it is. While feed bags are used for the exterior, the bag liners are made of recycled plastic bottles. The idea came to the founder while she was traveling in Southeast Asia in 2011, ever since the brand upcycled and recycled tons of plastic bags into amazing stylish accessories. TORRAIN creates its products in tight cooperation with Cambodian and local artisans, so you get unique and empowering fashion pieces that can complete your look.
HYER GOODS Bags & Accessoires
Ethics | Upcycled materials, recyclable and biodegradable packaging, fair working conditions, donations
Based in | New York, U.S.
Best for | High-quality, recycled-materials leather pieces that will last for generations
Product range | Accessories - from wallets to handbags, hats to keychains and face masks
Our top pick | Leather phone wallets - a must-have thing for the era of contactless payment. Convert your phone into a card wallet with the slim leather sticker right on to the back of your phone or phone case
Prices start from | $20
Black Friday 2020 | The brand offered a 20% off code for the whole range. Plus for every $100 spent by a single customer, HYER GOODS donated 10 meals to people in need through Feeding America
Black Friday 2021 | The brand treats its members to a 20% discount. Sign up today and get your coupon code in your mailbox. Additionally, for every $100 spent in November and December, HYER GOODS supports 10 meals for the food insecure
HYER GOODS is about doing things better. That’s why it chooses to collect high-quality waste and turn it into timeless accessories for you. Its founder Dana Cohen worked in the traditional fashion industry for over a decade and like no one else knows how harmful and waste-generating it is. She came up with the idea of HYER GOODS and set a new sustainable trend that helps to reduce waste and carbon footprint. The brand calls its initiative a “Better Leather” - so you can look cute and don’t feel bad about the environmental impact of your purchase.
This day marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. It’s a shopping mayhem caused by irresistible sales and offers. Hundreds of deals are being spread out the days before Thanksgiving, which has led to a consistent rise of spending and profit. According to the Guardian, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year and to put some numbers behind this fact: Black Friday 2019 equals $20 billion global spendings.
We don’t actually have any concrete evidence on who invented the term Black Friday related to shopping. According to Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Wall Street Journal, the very first usage of the term goes back in 1951 and comes from a trade journal called Factory Management and Maintenance. It refers to the day after Thanksgiving and has to do with the workers not showing up at their jobs on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving.
Other researchers say that in the 1960s police officers started to report an increasing foot and car traffic in the city due to the extraordinary overconsumption after Thanksgiving day. This probably started from the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in N.Y. Macy’s used to promote Thanksgiving as the beginning of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Other stores caught up with the trend and thus Thanksgiving became the official start of the Christmas gift shopping period. Over time it became an unwritten rule that stores would not promote any Christmas products before the day after Thanksgiving as most stores were closed on that day.
Years later in the 1980s retailers tried to create a myth, that Black Friday refers to retail companies that begin to turn a profit. This comes from an expression describing a business that is showing a profit or in other words a business that is “operating in the black”. So the term was actually re-interpreted in a different way and since then it has been established as the busiest shopping day of the year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are sometimes blurred to distinguish. Black Friday is the first Friday immediately after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and Cyber Monday is the first Monday following Black Friday. Of course, different retailers are building different strategies to spread out their deals between these two shopping holidays.
Although both are a sales party on clothes, home goods, gadgets, toys and gaming, Cyber Monday is a purely online affair, started back in 2005 in order to promote online shopping (older ladies and gentlemen will remember that shopping from the Internet was not that fancy back then).
The main difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that the latter one is offering deals that only exist online and not in physical stores. Based on that, we could say that Cyber Monday is a more eco-friendly option, in terms of shopping. According to the finding of one study from MIT, the carbon footprint of online shopping is lower than the carbon cost of shopping in physical stores.
This year, Black Friday falls on Friday 26 November 2021. This is the very first Friday after Thanksgiving.
In the last years, many anti-consumerism movements have emerged and new concepts started taking off on Black Friday. We consider all these movements as a positive sign that many people are ready to face the true cost of the items in their basket and change their habits.
Buy Nothing Day is the oldest example of a protest against Black Friday that started in Canada in 1992. Nowadays it is considered as a strong international movement against consumerism with many participants in North America, UK, Scandinavia and other countries. It is held the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, concurrent to Black Friday and encourages consumers to boycott any shopping activities on that day.
Block Friday is also a movement against the Black Friday created in 2019. This activity occurred only in Europe (mainly France and Germany) and activists decided to block the logistical centers of Amazon as well as big stores and shopping centers to raise awareness for the unconscious consumption and the working conditions on that day of the year.
Buy NOWT Friday is mostly happening in the UK and the word “nowt” stands for both “now” and “not”, meaning NOT NOW. Its main focus is to highlight pushed consumption which leads to pushing people into debts.
Small Business Saturday was created to support the local economy. It is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop small and locally.
Circular or White Monday, taking place on Monday before the Black Friday, has its roots in Sweden. It encourages buyers to support circular consumption instead of buying more.
#FreshAirFriday is a movement happening in Colorado. It stands for outdoor activities on Black Friday instead of visiting any store to buy new items. It is an action promoted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife partnering with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to offer free access to all 41 Colorado state parks on the Fresh Air Friday. Alternatively, just go out for any kind of activity or even a five-minute walk around the block. Check out the #optoutside on social media to join the conversation and see what others are doing on that day.
Giving Thursday is a global event, drawing our attention to charity donations and solidarity instead of individual consumerism.
Green Friday is the biggest movement that opposes Black Friday and the irresponsible shopping happening on that day, encouraging buyers to think and shop sustainably. It's unclear how the movement started but it’s most probably a progression of the “Buy Nothing Day”, which was born in Canada. It aims to transform deal-hunters to reasonable and eco-conscious consumers that are taking a moment to reflect on their desires and the impact they will bring to climate change and earth pollution.
During the last years, the Green Friday campaign has been promoted by the European Commission and other big organizations, including ECODES, WWF and Ecoserveis. It’s very encouraging that more and more organizations, initiatives and companies are joining the movement every year to provide the consumers the alternative to switch their habits and make a statement. For instance, multiple clothing brands that use organic fabrics, beauty retailers that defend animal rights and other companies that are implementing sustainable practices in their manufacturing processes are contributing to making Black Friday green, by donating their earnings. Everlane, Tentree, Angela Roi are only a few examples that participated in Green Friday 2020 by making sure your purchases will land to a good cause. By providing meals to people in need, planting trees or supporting charities they managed to embrace good.
Do you think the change might take a long time to come? Maybe. Do you think that switching your shopping choices on a Black Friday is just a drop in the ocean? Maybe. Do you think that gradually changing your personal habits won't solve the problem? That’s definitely not true. Small steps do make a change! By following our tips and supporting these brands, you will no longer contribute to one of the most wasteful days of the year. Instead, you will make a clear statement about your consumer activities and beliefs. Worth trying!