Conscious Consumption on Black Friday: 7 Brands offering an alternative to mass consumerism

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With Black Friday around the corner, the undoubtedly imminent shopping craze stands in stark contrast with the climate emergency messages sounding from COP26 mere weeks ago. Consumers are increasingly aware of the heavy environmental toll of shopping. Shipping accounts for 3-4% of human-caused carbon emissions, with this number potentially rising to 17% by 2050.

Yet, at the same time, we do understand that it is a very privileged position to pass up on major discounts. Responsible consumerism should be encouraged by businesses. Therefore, in this post, we are celebrating a handful of brands that are taking the lead with alternative approaches to Black Friday!

  1. REI: #optoutside campaign – This year, US-based retailer REI is closing all 143 of its stores. Customers and employees are encouraged to spend the day outside biking, walking, or joining one of many nationwide environmental clean-up campaigns organized by REI.
  2. Freitag: S.W.A.P – Freitag is closing its online store this Black Friday. Instead, they have set up the S.W.A.P campaign. S.W.A.P stands for Shopping Without Any Payment and gives customers the option to swap their used Freitag bags.
  3. Finisterre: Blue Friday – UK sustainable surfwear brand Finisterre is turning Black Friday into Blue Friday. For every order placed during their Blue Friday Weekend, £2.50 is donated to the Finisterre Foundation Wetsuit Project. The Wetsuit Project makes the sea more accessible by altering the wetsuits of those facing barriers with regular wetsuits.
  4. Deciem: Slovember - Deciem offers a 23% discount during the month of November. However, on Black Friday, their webshop and physical stores close. Their initiative aims to encourage slower consumerism through more deliberate purchases. Their stores will be home to multiple experiences and events, such as live music and creative workshops during Black Friday.
  5. MadeTrade: 10% for the Planet – This online, sustainable marketplace normally donates 1% of every purchase on its platform to an environmental non-profit. However, for Black Friday, they will increase this to 10%. Money raised will be donated to Giving Grove, a non-profit that plants fruit and nut orchards in urban communities experiencing food insecurity while offering youth education and empowerment.
  6. MiiR: Donations to Charity Water – For Black Friday, MiiR will donate 100% of its online and in-store sales to Charity: Water.
  7. Raven + Lily: Green Friday movement – Raven + Lily will participate in the Green Friday movement. For this year’s Green Friday, Raven + Lily will be selling leather samples from its production during past seasons that it decided not to move forward with for production. This initiative encourages slow fashion and prevents waste.

There are many more great examples of brands choosing not to participate in the mass sales that characterize Black Friday. Many companies, especially smaller, independent ones, offer no discount on any of their products. However, we selected these 7 above brands due to their initiative to go beyond boycotting Black Friday, and setting up campaigns and events that are likely to have a positive impact on the world.