The big Black Friday lie: what you don’t know about the biggest sale event of the year.

The big Black Friday lie: what you don’t know about the biggest sale event of the year.

Black Friday always falls on the Friday after the American Thanksgiving; this year, it will be the 24th of November. The shopping event of the year is known as a fantastic chance for shoppers to get the best deals and offers while businesses increase their sales.

Brands sell the idea that Black Friday deals cannot be missed. Meanwhile, they bombard customers with promotional emails and fill social media feeds with product reviews on Black Friday specials.

They fail to mention that this large-scale event negatively impacts the environment. Black Friday and sustainability don’t work together. It doesn't sound right even when big brands promote a “sustainable” Black Friday and present “eco-friendly” deals.

Let’s pause before embarking on Black Friday shopping and discover together what Black Friday is, the environmental and social impact of the event and what alternatives there are to Black Friday.

 What is wrong with Black Friday?

We all know that the fashion industry has significant environmental and ethical impacts. Black Friday exacerbates them. Here are the main environmental problems and social issues related to the event.

Black Friday leads to a huge increase in deliveries

Online shopping emits higher emissions than in-store shopping due to the energy needed to run warehouses and emissions from home delivery. Last year, during Black Friday, trucks around Europe released 1.2m tons of CO2- a 94% increase compared to an average week.

When discussing emissions, it is essential to consider the entire product life cycle, including manufacturing, packaging, transportation, waste, and usage.

Black Friday leads to a huge increase in waste

Black Friday encourages overconsumption and consumerism to the extreme, promoting cheap, unsustainable goods that are thrown away. Some studies show that up to 80% of Black Friday purchases are thrown away after just one or no use.

Many products are often returned to the company, and it doesn’t mean they will be put back on sale. In some cases, brands use Black Friday to clear unwanted stock and make space for new items. This leads to more waste, as these returned products often end up in landfills.

Black Friday has solid ethical implications

Large-scale production outsources labour to countries with low wages and unsafe working conditions, which traps workers in poverty. The potential for increased profits during Black Friday doesn't translate into financial gain for workers. They are stressed and work long hours- from 12 to 16 each day- to meet deadlines.

Sales lead to staff being overworked and underpaid. So, if prices are too cheap, do some research before buying.

Can I not buy anything on Black Friday?

To embrace conscious consumption, let’s stop and think before shopping. Before a purchase, ask yourself three simple questions:

  • How much do I already own?
  • How much will I wear it?
  • How long will it last?

Also, look at what is in your wardrobe and apply the 5Rs of Fashion: Reduce, Re-wear, Repair, Resell and Recycle.

If you still need to buy things, make better choices. Here are some tips:

  1. Choose small businesses and avoid giant chains. By doing so, you will support local communities.
  2. Buy a long-term item that will help to reduce waste in the long run.
  3. Take part in Giving Tuesday to give in any form: from food to money, from clothes to time volunteering.
  4. Choose wisely from brands that positively impact the planet and respect their workers.

Black Friday is the celebration of the consumerist mindset that leads to overconsumption and disregard for the environment.

This year let’s take a moment to reflect on our consumption habits and consider more sustainable ways of living. By being mindful of our impact on the planet, we can make more informed choices and do something for a healthier and more sustainable future.

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