It’s almost the time of year again where shoppers flock to the streets and hit their computers to snap up a pre-Christmas bargain. Although originally an American tradition, Black Friday is becoming increasingly popular in the UK with shoppers reportedly spending £2.9bn last year.
Black Friday is a time when retailers encourage us to bag a bargain – often shopping for things that we don’t really need or want, with queues forming outside hours before the shops even open.
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.
The negative impact doesn’t just affect shoppers either. 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. Mass consumption is affecting the planet and the people that produce these items, with factory workers in developing countries often working long hours in unsafe conditions for very little wages.
This Black Friday, ethical brands from around the world will come together for the Ethical Hour #ShopEthicalInstead campaign – encouraging people to spend their money with small businesses and make a positive impact instead.
Social enterprises and ethical businesses trade to deliver on a social or environmental mission with the aim of making a positive impact with their profit. Ethical businesses are changing people’s lives, improving communities and protecting the environment. There are nearly 80,000 social enterprises in the UK, employing over a million people and contributing more than £24 billion to the UK economy.
Whilst many people feel that a little “retail therapy” makes them happier, research into overconsumption by Greenpeace found that the buzz from shopping wears off quickly – usually within less than a day. However, studies have found that when we give to charity, the midbrain region responsible for pleasure rewards actually lights up and that when you give to specific charitable projects 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.
Every week, we bring together thousands of ethical business owners, bloggers and consumers on Twitter for #EthicalHour, to discuss how to grow their businesses and maximise their impact.
On Monday 30th October and Monday 6th November, and in the weeks running up to Black Friday, we’ll be hosting a chat with a #ShopEthicalInstead theme, sponsored by ethically-focused small businesses, to help consumers find ethical alternatives this holiday season.
Join the Twitter chat at 8pm UK time using hashtag #EthicalHour.
With thanks to our #ShopEthicalInstead Sponsors: Secrets of Green, Vextile, Sweetness & Pea, Bloomtown, The Naughty Shrew, Visible Clothing Company, Ethlete Running, Conscious Skincare and Swish Little Kids.