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Green Friday: what if we said stop over-consumption?
Black Friday, a commercial event coming from the United States, crossed the Atlantic a few years ago to become a key date in Europe. However, today it seems completely disconnected from the ecological challenges we face all over the world. Instead of supporting mass production and hyper-consumption, Surfrider Europe is committed to educating citizens about the power of our purchasing choices and how to consume more responsibly.
A call for mass consumption
Black Friday was born in the United States and usually begins the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, which takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. Thus, the one called "Black Friday" is the first day of a shopping period when brands race to win sales from holiday shoppers by advertising the best deals.
This event may seem advantageous for citizens who can benefit from promotions on products that they "need" and that they can’t get at the full price. Fashion and electronics are the sectors that benefit most from Black Friday today, reinforcing the negative impacts of programmed obsolescence and fast fashion raised in recent years. Indeed, Black Friday has more negative effects on society than it seems.
Firstly, this commercial event directly promotes over-consumption and excess waste. The concept itself pushes consumers to buy things they don't need, lured in by the spectacle of low prices and ‘amazing deals’. In the United States in 2017, Black Friday alone brought in $58 billion, the equivalent of Lebanon's GDP.
And where thousands of people will rush into stores or online platforms, others will be overexploited to produce more and more at lower cost. All this while increasing once again the impact of humanity on the environment: did you know that the production of a single pair of jeans can require up to 11,000 liters of water? A good reason to start rethinking our consumption... Excessive consumption also means additional waste: the United Nations recently indicated that the electronic devices frequently renewed following Black Friday would be the source of 45 million tons of electronic waste.
Let's reverse the trend
On this Black Friday, Surfrider Europe invites us to think differently and change our behaviors to reverse the trend. To promote responsible and reasonable consumption, the association is a partner of Green Friday, a movement launched in 2017 to take back the power of purchasing and transform the values of Black Friday.
The mission of Green Friday is to raise awareness of responsible consumption and denounce the logic of Black Friday, without blaming it, but by putting citizens' choices at the heart of environmental and social issues related to consumption. For companies that wish to support, they have the opportunity to donate 10% of their turnover to associations on that day.
In the same movement, Faguo launched its collective ‘Make Friday Green Again’ in 2019, which today brings together more than 1,000 brands that also commit to encourage their community to move towards a more reasoned consumption on this day.
How to begin the journey of responsible consumption? Start with this simple question: Do I really need it? If the answer is yes, choose an option that limits impact. Favour homemade, second-hand, buy local, choose eco-labeled products. In all sectors and for all budgets, everyone is able to do a little more, in order to impact the planet a little less.
Black Friday is an event disconnected with the context of our current environmental crisis and the battles we fight every day. Rather than encouraging thoughtless hyper-consumption, it is becoming essential today to think about our impact. Let's take advantage of this day together to fight this race for blind profit and rethink our consumption models. Let's act as global citizens rather than rabid consumers.