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The day after American Thanksgiving is typically dominated by retailers slashing prices in a bid to offer shoppers some of the biggest discounts of the year. However, many opponents of Black Friday have called out the shopping event as a thinly-veiled opportunity to promote over-consumption.
Luckily, Green Friday has emerged as a sort of Anti-Black Friday event, and is a day to watch if you’re looking to shop smarter this season.
What is Green Friday?
In contrast to the shopping bonanzas that tend to get the most attention, more and more retailers are opting for a different approach to holiday shopping. What started out in 1992 as “Buy Nothing Day” has grown into Green Friday — a new movement that encourages shoppers to make more mindful purchases that will last a lifetime.
Whether they choose to offset their sales with charity partnerships, tree-planting initiatives, or by shutting down operations entirely, a new wave of sustainable and ethical brands are embracing Green Friday by appealing to consumers who are looking to reconsider their shopping habits with more environmentally-friendly options.
Brands to shop
If you are planning to make purchases this holiday season, we’ve gathered a selection of brands that are using their platforms for good, and are also giving back for Green Friday.
Since 2013, Everlane has partnered with a different charity and donated a portion of Black Friday sales to a worthy cause. This year, they’ve teamed up with Feeding America, and have pledged to donate $1 from every order made between Nov. 27 and Nov. 29, with the goal of raising $200,000 and provide two million meals to those in need.
Rather than slashing prices like other retailers this Black Friday (and to counteract the "more is more" mindset around the season), Allbirds will be launching a global initiative called Pay It To The Planet where prices on all products will be raised by $1 on Nov. 27. The additional proceeds will go directly to Fridays For Future, the youth-led international climate movement founded by climate activist Greta Thunberg.
With their KNOWvember initiative, Deciem has been encouraging consumers to shop slowly by sharing educational videos daily. The brand aims to empower shoppers to choose skincare mindfully rather than purchase on impulse. Deciem has also been offering a 23 per cent discount on all products throughout the month of November.
Kotn, a Toronto-based brand that prides themselves on their commitment to ethically sourced Egyptian cotton, is doing things differently this Black Friday. From Nov. 27 to Nov. 30, 100 per cent of proceeds up to $120,000 will be donated directly to fund the creation of three schools in Egypt in support of worldwide literacy.
Launching exclusively online on Nov. 27, Lush is releasing 27 new bubble bars as the perfect package-free product to help off-set the higher plastic use during the holidays. By releasing these new bath goodies online only, the brand also hopes to encourage shoppers to stay home and practice mindful consumerism without ever leaving the house.
Enjoy 30 per cent off everything online now through Nov. 30 when you shop People Tree’s Fair Friday sale. All of the brand’s clothing is produced using traditional skills and is certified Fair Trade, meaning it helps provide decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
Canadian outdoor label Arc'teryx is encouraging shoppers to consider secondhand clothing throughout November with their Used Gear Month initiative. All month long, customers can return used Arc'teryx products and receive a trade-in value back on a gift card to use for future purchases.
In lieu of a traditional Black Friday sale, Canadian label Ecologyst Apparel has announced a limited edition conservation collaboration in support of Raincoast Conservation's Wolf Campaign. In partnership with Indigenous artist Ocean Hyland, 20 per cent of the brand’s 1200 Wolf Tee will be donated to supporting wolf conservation efforts in British Columbia.
While Whimsy and Row are offering huge savings of up to 75 per cent off on a selection of women’s fashions, they’re also ensuring that the environment doesn’t pay the price. For every purchase made now through Nov. 30, the brand will also plant a tree in support of reforestation efforts across the globe.
In honour of planting 50 million trees since their launch, Tentree is celebrating Green Friday by offering up to 50 per cent off a selection of men’s and women’s styles.
“The trees we plant together for Green Friday will create lasting change that extends far beyond our sale,” shared Tentree Co-Founder and CEO Derrick Emsley. “Planting trees means providing jobs so that families can put food on the table, it means rebuilding forests to protect wildlife and precious resources, and it means working together towards a greener future.”
How to show support
The easiest way that to show support for the Green Friday movement is to take a moment to pause before hitting “add to cart,” and think about the environmental impact of your purchases.
Challenge yourself to think beyond the short-term deals and instead consider the carbon footprint of inexpensive clothing that’s likely to end up in a landfill within a year. That said, you may want to think twice before snapping up those fast fashion bargain buys altogether.
If you’re on the hunt for holiday gift ideas, Green Friday is the perfect opportunity to support local businesses and sustainable brands that align with your values. You can also choose to gift loved ones with a charitable donation in their name, rather than a material item when you shop this long weekend.