In 2019, 93 million people in the world went online to go shopping on Black Friday. Overall – an act of impulse shopping due to low prices. You can imagine what impact this one day shopping has on the environment and the world as a whole. It is said that this one day’s shopping will generate over 40 million tons of environmental waste (out of roughly 85 million tons annually generated by the fashion industry, which is approximately 4% of global waste). According to “money.co.uk”, this year’s Black Friday purchases, only in the UK, will produce a sum of 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of 435 return flights from London to New York.
So, what is Black Friday actually? It is a day that was created by retailers in an effort to increase sales and encourage people to start buying early for the approaching festive seasons. In hope that the consumers would buy twice, firstly lured into purchase by a low price, and then later realising that there was more to buy. It is one of the busiest shopping days of the year and is famous for heavily discounted prices. Every year on this day millions of pieces of clothing, tech gadgets and other things get bought, used, and discarded in a constantly repeating cycle of over consumption.
The Fashion industry, in particular, has fortunately (from our perspective) been criticized recently – with its strong negative influences on the environment and its repeated neglect of labour force rights. This is starting to get more well known now amongst consumers, and as the world slowly becomes more conscious of overconsumption and moves towards buying knowing for what purpose they buy- A handful of brands are and have been opting out of Black Friday sales altogether in recent years. TREEM also did this the past two years. This year we are taking things one step further; we have proudly decided to close our e-commerce for this particular day, in protest against this “fast consumption idea day”.
We invite you to ask five questions before engaging in consumption. For any of items you are thinking to purchase during this day, and actually always:
What purpose does it serve?
Where was it made?
Who made it?
How long will it last me?
Where does it end up later?
The reason why we should ask ourselves these questions – well, what purpose does that thing actually serve in your life, do you really need it, and in that country where it was produced are they taking care of the world and people? Was the person making it fairly paid and having fair working conditions, or was that person being “used”? Lastly, how long will you use this piece for, does it have a meaning, and when you are done with it, is it recyclable?
To finish off, we want to use TREEM’s founder Carl-David’s words: “I am strongly against the concept of Black Friday as it stands for fast consumption that is based on low price. I.e. lots of people buy things that they actually don’t need, they shop only because there is a discount on this day. We in TREEM are not going to participate in this, and it is our duty to show that we believe in conscious behaviours – and that our design is made to empower for the better.”