Oct 21

Black Friday: The Real Impact

by Nona Dimitrova

Today we don’t buy what we need; we buy because we are tempted. We are not in a good relationship with consumption anymore..png

– Nicolas Rohr, Co-Founder of Faguo.

With so many brands dropping their prices in the lead up to and during Black Friday, it can be easy to fall victim to the temptation of shopping for the sake of it (or for the sake of a good deal). This so-called “frantic overconsumption” (we all know the scary queue photos from American Black Friday) poses a huge threat to the environment. Think of it like haul culture and over-consumption but on speed. From the production of the items, the packaging and the shipping, to the waste generated from the products that we convince ourselves we need, the planet will suffer due to increased carbon emissions² over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday are considered two of the most polluting days of the year. Since the concepts have been adapted globally, the footprint has grown accordingly.

A report released in November 2020 by U.K. price comparison website Money.co.uk has put into perspective how much of a climate menace Black Friday is. In the UK alone, it was expected that over 429K metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be produced during the Black Friday period in 2021 from the delivery process alone. That’s equal to 435 return flights from London to New York.

We know it sounds like a lot, but is 429k metric tons of CO2 actually a lot? It’s important to know how it compares to our usual expenditure:

According to Ian Tiseo and a study published on Statista, the United Kingdom's domestic shipping emissions were 5.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2020. Divide that by the 365 days in the year, and you get a daily average of 14.5k metric tons.

...So yeah, 429k both sounds like a lot and is a lot.

Not only that, but many products purchased during Black Friday are used minimally before they are discarded completely. Up to 80% of our Black Friday purchases are simply thrown away after 0-1 uses.

All of this begs the question: do brands actually care about the negative impact they’re creating or are they just chasing more and more sales? This brings us to The Make Friday Green Again campaign, also known as Green Friday.

The Campaign

The Make Friday Green Again Collective is made up of predominantly French brands, all urging consumers to avoid temptation on Black Friday due to the colossal environmental consequences. Instead, they are encouraging people to reconnect with their existing wardrobes, give time and attention to the clothes which they might want to repair, sell or recycle, or simply to reconnect with nature and avoid commercial areas. Now none of this is to say that we’re advising anyone of steering clear of Black Friday sales. We’re no strangers to a good deal. Sometimes, when we’ve had something on our wish-list for a while, a good sale is the perfect opportunity to make the dream a reality. We’re just here to encourage you to proceed with caution and reality, and only buy things you truly love, want or need.

5 Ways to make your Black Friday more mindful:

  1. Wardrobe Audit

    Perform a wardrobe audit (physically or digitally on Whering) and determine what your current wardrobe might be missing in order to make it more complete

  2. Make a Wishlist

    Spend time curating a Wishlist (on Whering, duh) of these perfect additions to your wardrobe and check back to see if they’re on sale when doomsday, sorry, Black Friday rolls around.
  3. Stick to the Shopping List

    Only buy what you intended, and don’t let your eyes wander too much. There very rarely is such a thing as love at first sight when it comes to shopping. Usually it’s temporary fixation or infatuation.
  4. Use the Sales to Your Advantage

    Use the sales as an opportunity to look for deals outside of physical possessions. Maybe that’s experiences, travel, gym classes or a 50% off rail card?
  5. Don't Force Yourself

    If you don’t need anything, that’s fine! Don’t force yourself into consuming just because the price-point is tempting. The next sale will roll around before you know it.

5 Random things you could do instead of shopping on Black Friday:

  1. Review your listings

    Do a Depop / Vinted audit and consider whether that one jumper you posted a year ago which still hasn’t sold, might just have to be donated.

  2. Finally Sell Those Clothes

    Update your Depop & Vinted with all the things you’ve been meaning to sell for months.
  3. Get on Whering

    Update your Whering wardrobe with any pieces you still haven’t digitised.
  4. Get Creative

    No time like the present! Come up with 30 more outfits using your existing wardrobe.
  5. Go touch some grass <3

    Getting outside and seeing nature is a nice way to remind yourself life exists beyond online capitalist sales.

Whilst there's a lot of bad in Black Friday, we're trying to use it for good. We hope this guide helped you understand the reality of just how bad Black Friday is, and some easy ways to make it green.

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