The problems and solutions to Black Friday

29th November 2022

Emily Baker

With less than a month to go before Christmas, the busiest shopping period of the year, Black Friday has once again recently wiped the highstreets and online marketplaces. But how does this popular pre-Christmas shopping extravaganza impact the environment? 

Despite the pinnacle shopping day being called ‘Black Friday’ a tradition taken from the US, we now see the deals flood into our inbox for a stretched period of nearly a week. Over recent years, this has created a significant event on the run up to Christmas which worryingly seems to be growing!

But why do consumers love Black Friday?

Is it the chance to get a head start on Christmas shopping or is it purely the fact that prices ‘too good to miss out on’ and we use it as an opportunity to treat ourselves. Regardless of the driving force, the sheer volume of items overflowing our households following the event is excessive, and one could say unnecessary, considering the detrimental impacts on the environment.

The mining and depletion of natural resources to create these new things, makes the transition to the model of a circular economy all the more challenging. According to the green alliance, 80% of items purchased throughout Black Friday end up in the waste stream within the space of a year. Surely this tells us something must change!

Over the years we have already seen a clear and ongoing transition to consumers favouring online marketplaces over a traditional high street, which also brings about negative environmental impacts. The delivery of a product holds a must higher carbon footprint than shopping in a local store and this year it has been calculated that 400,000 tonnes of CO2 will be admitted into the atmosphere as a result of transport from Back Friday in the UK!

So is now the time for change? With the cost of living increasing and environmental awareness growing, an opportunity presents itself for a ‘greener’ Black Friday moving forward!

This year we have seen some advocates for change, with some companies boycotting Black Friday or offering environmentally conscious alternatives. For example, eBay UK announced they would only be promoting pre-owned and refurbished items this year.

Consumers are also taking action, by enjoying ‘Green Friday’ using the event as an opportunity to get out into nature to completely change the purpose of the event, showcasing the significant importance of health and wellbeing over money and possession – Inspirational!

These actions are inspiring, however unfortunately it is clear our economy is still driven by businesses who place the highest importance on profit. This highlights a growing need for organisations to adjust to the increasingly known B Corporation movement, whereby organisations put people, planet, and profit on an equal level. The corporation currently sits at just over 1000 certified businesses, but this needs to grow, with businesses being a hugely influential factor in the UK’s wider environmental aspirations.

Black Friday is over for this year, however we hope to see some more encouraging outliers over the next few years, to truly create that shift to the new “Green Friday”!

If you have any questions on this topic, or as a business are looking to make changes within your business in support of 'green Friday' get in touch with our solutions team on