Black Friday is globally one of the busiest shopping days of the year - with massive deals to get items at slashed prices.
But have you ever wondered how this day started and what impacts Black Friday culture has on us, labour workers and the environment?
As we get into the groove of grabbing the best promotions this Black Friday, let’s learn a little bit about the history of this momentous day.
how did black friday originate?
The origin of Black Friday dates back to 1869, and in fact has nothing to do with shopping.
It was a day when businessmen Jay Gould and James Fisk attempted to corner the US gold market. As a result, gold prices plummeted in the US - causing financial panic and a major market crash.
This impacted the US economy for years after. Hence, the reason behind the Black Friday name is that 'black' signifies being in financial debt after overspending.
what happens on black friday today?
While this day originated in the 1800’s, the relevance of Black Friday today is extremely high for the retail industry.
Today marks the start of the holiday shopping season and invites a rise in consumerism globally. The retail industry offers massive deals to shoppers, encouraging impulse buys of mass-produced items.
when is black friday?
Black Friday is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving, and is scheduled every year on the last Friday of November.
what impact does black friday culture have on the environment?
Black Friday culture encourages mass-production of items, which requires cheap and quick manufacturing.
This often means that there is large-scale use of plastic due the ease of plastic availability, for both products and packaging.
This directly results in huge quantities of plastic pollution, which end up in landfill or oceans and don't break down for hundreds of years.
Also, mass-produced items result in higher greenhouse gases due to the energy required for production.
Each item uses a certain amount of energy to be made, known as embodied energy. This can be understood as the total energy consumed by all of the processes that are associated with the production of an item.
So, for example, a single t-shirts embodied energy will be made up of all the energy required to:
- Produce the material
- Transport the material to to factory
- Operate the sewing machinery
- Transport the t-shirt from a warehouse to the store
Thus, the more items produced, the higher energy used - resulting in more greenhouse gases.
It is obvious that traditionally Black Friday is unsustainable as it has terrible impacts to our environment. As a result, there has been a motivation to reclaim this day as Green Friday by making Black Friday ethical and sustainable.
what is ethical black friday?
As an increase in awareness of the negative impacts of the mass consumerism that Black Friday encourages, there has been a shift in recent years to be more ethical about our shopping choices - especially on Black Friday.
Ethical Black Friday is about pausing to think about which businesses you spend your money on.
It is all about making more conscious shopping choices and supporting brands that:
1. Are environmentally conscious
Environmentally conscious brands are those that ensure their products are reusable and long-lasting, and their packaging is recyclable.
2. Support labour rights
This means that the brand values their workers rights and ensures they are compensated fairly, have decent work hours, receive adequate leave, and get employee benefits.
3. Value slow production
Brands that value slow manufacturing are mindful of the energy consumption of their products, and make sure that they only produce quantities that are required.
4. Give back to the community
Ethical brands are socially conscious and responsible, and will often have an element of redistributing profits to serve society within their business model.
how can i take part in ethical black friday?
It’s easy to take part in ethical Black Friday.
Rather than going to a mall or window-shopping online, you can start by searching for ethical Black Friday deals. There are many ethical and sustainable brands that will have exactly what you want to shop for, and that too at great sale prices.
Before making a purchase, you should ask yourself these questions:
Do I really need this product?
Is it reusable or disposable?
What values does the brand I'm buying from stand for?
Does the brand support labour rights?
- Is the brand fair-trade, a small business, or women-owned?
is asan an ethical brand?
Asan is a women-owned and led social enterprise with a mission to give back to our community through our 1-for-1 donations programme.
The Asan cup is a sustainable period product which is reusable for 10 years. Through making the switch to the Asan cup, you are averting 2500 sanitary pads/tampons and the harmful toxins they carry from going to landfill.
Asan's commitment to sustainability extends beyond the cup itself - our cloth pouch is made from 100% natural cotton and packaging is 95% recyclable material.
Ready to make the switch to a sustainable menstrual cup brand for Black Friday 2022? Get 20% off with the code BLACKFRIDAY now.