Feeling the Black Friday blues? Last year, it was estimated that Brits spent £3.95 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – a sharp drop from sales of £6 billion in 2020 and £4.8 billion in 2021, but nevertheless still a huge figure – as they shopped the latest deals at big name retailers. This year’s string of sales are also forecasted to produce 429,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from product deliveries, and see 80 per cent of products bought during this period end up in landfill shortly after. With over-consumption on the rise, many of us are boycotting sale season in favour of something different: Green Friday.
What Is Green Friday?
Started as a means of raising awareness of the impact our shopping habits can have on the planet, Green Friday – or the ‘anti-Black Friday movement’ – is an event that promotes mindful shopping and environmental appreciation. Coinciding with Black Friday, it involves boycotting stores promoting the event, avoiding online sales and highlighting the massive scale of CO2 and waste produced during this period.
While Black Friday has been an annual staple since the 1980s, Green Friday (as we know it) is a newer concept. Early versions of the event have been tracked back to Canada’s 1992 Buy Nothing Day, which is now its own international event in protest of consumerism, but it’s since grown beyond a boycott to include mindful shopping practices, outdoor events and learning opportunities.
It’s no surprise that in recent years, as Green Friday has garnered more attention globally, the event has evolved and taken on new meaning. On its website, greenfriday.org explains that the event centres around three core values:
- Putting down devices in favour of spending time outdoors
- Enjoying time with friends and family
- Giving, sharing and investing in worthwhile causes
But these will most likely shift as time goes on and refine the ways in which we’d like to see big sale events like Black Friday change for the better.
When Is It?
Like Black Friday, Green Friday will take place on Friday 24 November 2023 (although many brands and companies are getting involved earlier this year in reaction to month-long Black Friday deals).
How Do We Get Involved?
There’s more than one way to get on board with Green Friday – we’ve listed some of our favourite below:
Skip Black Friday
The most sustainable way to shop? Not at all. Skipping the sale rail is the simplest way to get involved in Green Friday this year, as it will prevent you from buying things you don’t necessarily want or need (and ultimately sending them to landfill).
Spend Time Outdoors
Green Friday is also an opportunity to reconnect with nature and rekindle a love for nature; rather than spend the day inside on your computer or holed up in a department store, those participating are encouraged to spend the day outdoors. You can go for walk, visit the park or even just chill in the garden (if the British weather permits it).
A recent amend to the Green Friday message is, if you still intend to shop, to shop mindfully. This means avoiding big corporations known for having poor environmental practices and instead investing in one of the following:
- Local businesses – this supports your local community while cutting down on the transport (and therefore carbon emissions) needed to ship goods
- Sustainable brands – labels that are known for setting a good example when it comes to employing practices that work with the planet rather than against it (you can look out for certifications like B Corp, Soil Association and Leaping Bunny).
- Secondhand or vintage wares – one way to avoid over-consumption is to keep things circular, shopping items that have had a previous life and saving them from going in the bin
- Charity sales – a number of brands are moving towards charity sales come Black Friday, which entail raising funds and donating to non-profit organisations (usually with an environmental purpose)
You can also check out our Good Brands Directory, which is made up of brands that have been accredited or assessed by B Corp, Positive Luxury or Green Salon – and occasionally all three – meaning that they have been through rigorous and comprehensive assessments around their social and environmental impact.
Learn Something New About Our Planet
Rather than give in to any capitalist cravings, why not use your time to learn something new? There are a wealth of resources out there to help you get to grips with our planet is various ecologies, from books and podcasts to documentaries (David Attenborough is your friend here). There are even a number of fun shows that teach kids about the way our planet works, so everyone in the family can get involved.
Spreading the word about Green Friday will help broadcast its message and values at a much faster rate, helping the movement to grow and gain traction. Tell your friends and family, platform the brands making a difference in the retail space and share Green Friday’s values wherever you can. Change starts with us, after all.
Which Brands Are Participating In Green Friday?
Pack specialist Osprey will once again be raising funds for the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) this Black Friday weekend, with its new campaign encouraging shoppers to choose with conservation projects they want to support. Running from 23 to 28 November 2023, Osprey’s Green Friday promotion will offer a 20 percent discount on selected products – with 20 percent of every sale going to EOCA. Shoppers can also vote for specific conservation projects (details will be shared with Osprey’s mailing list). osprey.com
British lingerie label Dora Larsen will be avoiding discounted activations this year – instead opting to donate £10 from every order received between the 24 and 27 November to Farmer’s Footprint UK, a non-profit organisation reconnecting people to the hope and impact of local regenerative future. doralarsen.com
Unisex style brand Pineapple Island will be teaming up with marine conservation charity Project Seagrass this November, with the campaign spanning from 20 to 27 November 2023. ‘Along with giving our customers a 20 percent discount, this year, we have partnered with Project Seagrass to donate £1 for every order placed,’ commented Alice Parmenter, Creative Director of Pineapple Island. ‘By participating in Green Friday this November, we aim to encourage conscious consumerism, promote, and donate to an incredible seagrass charity, and choose a more responsible way of doing business. It’s not just about discounts; it’s about making a positive impact on our planet and inspiring others to join us on this important journey towards a greener, more sustainable world.’ pineapple-island.com
Fashion label O Pioneers will also be setting up a charitable initiative for Green Friday, as it plans to donate 20 percent of all sales between 24 and 27 November to Child Bereavement UK. opioneers.co.uk
As well as offering a 15 percent discount site-wide, beauty brand Star Seed will donating 15 percent of weekend sales from 24 to 27 November directly to its traceable Regeneration Programme and projects in Kilifi. starseednatural.com
Find out more about Green Friday 2023 at greenfriday.org.uk
Featured image: Markus Spiske, Unsplash