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“As consumers we have so much power to change the world just by being careful in what we buy”. Emma Watson

Black Friday is nowadays commonly used to indicate the popular weekend following the US festivity of “Thanksgiving”, when retailers offer special promotions and are “in the black”, i.e. they are profitable. 
According to experts, Black Friday has recently turned into the busiest shopping day of the year. Yet, even though promotions are an allegedly effective way to attract consumers, the environment is the one that’s paying the full price for it. 

For people with little purchasing power, being able to buy a necessity at a lower price is, of course, a benefit. The problem comes with those who have more than enough and still get obsessed with the necessity to buy “something” on that day. Despite surveys showing an increasing concern of people towards the environmental price of BF, according to Adobe Analytics, the volume of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year are set to increase by almost 20% compared to last year. In addition, forecasts show that the pandemic will further strengthen online shopping, leading to even greater carbon emissions levels: just imagine that, during the 2017 BF week, every 93 seconds a diesel truck would leave an Amazon fulfillment centre - this accounting for only one slice of the whole pie. Besides that, this event will also impact the 50 millions tons of electronic waste generated each year, and play a major role in the amount of textile landfilled or burned. According to a study from the Ellen McArthur Foundation, a truckload of textiles is wasted every second

A striking way to look at the whole issue is considering that the Earth Overshoot Day, i.e. the day when humanity has used up all the available resources for that year's time, is falling earlier and earlier each year - with the rare exception of 2020's EOD landing on August 22nd, compared to July 29th 2019, a result very likely impacted by the pandemic, according to experts.

Let’s look at how we could reverse the trend together and what thegreenlabels are engaging in to transform such an environmentally black day into a greener one.

Fast buying is not a good choice. Don’t fall into the marketing trap!

There are a number of reasons why we at thegreenlabels stand for slow fashion and slow consumption in general. Besides usually engaging in true love relationships with what we buy, we are keen on using our brains to carefully think before clicking that “buy” button. In fact, fast purchases are usually driven by the unconscious side of our brain, something that all Black Friday advocates try their hardest to stimulate. Cutting-edge promotions are in fact the quickest way to arouse a need in the consumer that would otherwise not be there. Our advice to keep yourself from falling into the “promotions trap” this week is to think at least three times before buying new stuff. Ask yourself whether you need such a new item, whether you will actually use it at least a considerable number of times - and not just twice before throwing it to the trash room -, whether it is the best option on the market to account for lower environmental impacts and better laboural conditions. Finally, don’t forget the majority of Black Friday purchases happen online and goods are often shipped from very far away. 

We will plant trees, instead 💚

All this has led thegreenlabels - and together with The Green Beauty Market, Plantsome, Decathlon, Rewind Design and Moyee Coffee - to join Dille & Kamille on their Green Friday project. The project involves every partner to donate a voluntary amount (€ more or less equaling ) to Trees for All for the plantation of trees in the Netherlands, Belgium and Costa Rica. The amounts donated are respectively: Dille & Kamille 2500€, Decathlon 4000€, The Green Beauty Market 500€ and thegreenlabels 500€. Other partners will engage in the donation to other tree associations, therefore the amount of covered by this initiative will be totaling 7,500 + (not accounting for the share of Moye Coffee and Rewind Design). The aim? To take direct action as business players in the fight against the negative environmental effects of this black day, or week. 

So guys, let’s grow some bushes around the world instead of piles of useless stuff in our homes! 

***If you want to take an extra action, we have decided to plant an additional tree for every comment you will leave under our Green Friday feed post, where we’ll want to hear about your conscious-consumer hacks. So, follow us on Instagram and spread the word!

***UPDATE***: Thanks to the Green Friday initiatives we were able to plant a total of 108 trees among the Netherlands, Belgium and Costa Rica. Thanks to everyone who made this possible! 💚

Sources

https://www.businessinsider.nl/why-is-it-called-black-friday-2017-11?international=true&r=US
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/how-black-friday-cyber-monday-impacts-environment/
https://www.channable.com/blog-the-2020-black-friday-forecast/
https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/29/is-black-friday-bad-for-the-environment-activists-take-on-shopping-frenzy
https://qz.com/1758551/black-fridays-environmental-cost-leads-to-worldwide-protests/
https://www.bustle.com/p/should-black-friday-be-stopped-heres-what-environmental-experts-think-19355000
https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/past-earth-overshoot-days/