Black Friday originated in the United States, where it has been a common practice since 1960. In France, the practice began in 2013 and is now mandatory for families looking for good deals. However, Black Friday is massively dominated by the giant Amazon and this drives (excess) consumption under the pretext of promoting purchasing power during the holiday season. More ecological, more local, more ethical alternatives try to prove that another model is possible. Decryption.
Black Friday is the very expression of American capitalism. This day was exported across the Atlantic with the development of e-commerce, led by Amazon. It started as one day, now it’s Black Week, offering flash sales all week long. Internet users scrutinize the smallest offer that allows them to save money. This rush to overconsumption as the holidays approach has a catastrophic impact on the environment. Faced with this incentive to buy new at all costs, many e-commerce players in France have launched alternatives or even boycotts.
A Black Friday far from green
Buying new on sale seems enticing for the consumer: guarantee, quality, price, it’s all there… or almost! The carbon footprint and human cost are disastrous. In fact, the vast majority of products bought in Europe are manufactured abroad. According to a recent study, consumption by Europeans is linked each year to 1.2 million cases of modern slavery and leads to 4,200 fatal work accidents worldwide. On the carbon footprint side, there are 4.7 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions emitted outside Europe each year, that is, eleven times more than what we emit in France.
Many families are thinking about saving money during Black Friday. However, most buy products they don’t need, on the pretext of offering Christmas gifts to others or to themselves. Thinking about saving, they fall into the trap of e-commerce sites, which record orders during Black Friday with 1.3 billion dollars in sales made between this event and Christmas, that is, 30% of the sector’s annual revenue. retail🇧🇷 There are more ecological alternatives to this phenomenon.
First, we can decide to buy only if we need something and think about the usefulness of the gifts we buy. So the second-hand and repair track is on the right track. Already widely adopted in the textile sector, it is gaining notoriety for electronics with sites like Backmarket or Connexing and for home appliances with Envio or Emmaüs. Products marketed on these sites are mostly repaired in France and sold with warranty. In addition to being much more ecological, these products are also more economical and this all year round.
A 100% made in France or 100% ecological Friday
Faced with the popularity of Black Friday, groups of brands have launched alternatives such as Bleu Blanc Rouge Day. As its name suggests, this day aims to offer promotions on a selection of French brands made in France. A good solution to support the local economy and reduce your carbon footprint. Other brands oppose the concept and decide to boycott Black Friday. They are implementing a Green Friday. In addition to not offering any promotions on that particular day, some sites decide to prevent any orders on their site during that day. You can always contact them by phone or email if it’s an “emergency” to order today. This is the case of the Connexing website, which has followed this movement since its launch in 2017 on the initiative of the Envio brand. “Customer feedback is generally good, due to the permanent green approach that customers are sensitive to. explains Hubert Poupelin, associate director at Connexing.
This year, in its sixth edition, Green Friday bets on urgency. “As bad news piles up this summer about climate, biodiversity and access to water, retailers are actively preparing their Black Friday campaign in late November, once again glossing over the link between hyperconsumption and rapid depletion of products. Earth’s resources, increasing inequalities and climate change. says Jean-Paul Raillard, President of Envio in a press release. It is no longer possible to continue consuming as before.
 International spills embedded in EU supply chains, Solutions for Sustainable Development Network, 11/16/2022. https://resources.unsdsn.org/tracking-forced-labour-accidents-at-work-and-climate-impacts-in-eu-s-consumption-of-fossil-and-mineral-raw-materials
 Trade and sale to private individuals
Repair, borrow, rent: alternatives to excessive consumption