It’s nearly that time of year again where shoppers flock to the streets and hit their computers to snap up bargains. Black Friday is a time encouraged by retailers - originally an American tradition- to bag a bargain. And it’s economically paid off: UK shoppers reportedly spending £2.9bn last year on single sales. Sustainable it is far from, ethical it is absolutely not.
Mass consumption is affecting the planet and the people that produce these items. Huge stock demands mean factory workers in developing countries often working even longer hours in unsafe conditions for very little wages. Black Friday is the epitome of mass consumption.
A survey by Traidcraft found that 54% of shoppers admitted to feeling stressed, anxious and even argumentative when doing their Christmas shopping, and 2 out of 3 said they would snatch the last item from the shelf, even if another shopper was reaching for it. Whilst many people feel that a little “retail therapy” makes them happier, research into overconsumption by Greenpeace found that even the small buzz from shopping wears off quickly – usually within less than a day.
The negative impact doesn’t just affect shoppers or workers: electrical goods and clothing are two of the most purchased things on Black Friday, and yet DEFRA have reported that 350,000 tonnes of clothing going to landfill each year and electrical and electronic equipment is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK.
This 24th November - Black Friday - we’re switching things up for you and want to raise awareness for ethical brands from around the world for the #ShopEthicalInstead campaign instead. We want to encourage people to spend their money with small businesses and make a positive impact.
Ethical Collection London trades to deliver on a social or environmental mission with the aim of making a positive impact. Ethical businesses are changing people’s lives, improving communities and protecting the environment. Studies have found that when we give to charity or know we are doing good, the midbrain region responsible for pleasure rewards actually lights up. Giving or participating in specific charitable projects makes you feel happier.
By purchasing from social enterprises and ethical businesses you can satisfy your shopping cravings safe in the knowledge that the people who made your product were treated fairly and that any negative environmental impact has been kept to a minimum wherever possible. You’ll also have the positive feeling of contributing to their social impact project and helping them make a difference.