Black Friday – Are we helping the environment?

It’s that time of year again with Christmas around the corner, stores and brands drop prices to stir up the shopping frenzy known as Black Friday. The UK adopted the US’s tradition of Black Friday from 2013, gradually increasing the climate impact through the popularity from consumers. But what does this annual festival mean for the environment?

Black Friday home deliveries this year will churn out at least 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—the equivalent of 435 return flights from London to New York. However, with the economic crash of the pound, and inflation rising in the UK, shoppers normally likely to spend is expected to drop by 18% compared to the £4.8 billion in last year’s sales for Black Friday due to the cost-of-living crisis. Potentially decreasing the overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Black Friday has also reignited a debate over whether online shopping and delivery is better or worse for the environment than conventional shopping. A recent study highlighted the complexity of the issue, researchers finding purchases made online but collected from the store generated lower emissions than on foot store shopping. However alternatively, online shopping delivered directly to homes was found to have a higher greenhouse gas footprint than in-store shopping.

Dave Gudgeon, Head of External Affairs Said, ‘We as consumers need to not look solely at emissions from deliveries, as this fails to consider the emissions created in the production of those goods, as well as in their use and their eventual disposal which generates vast amounts more emissions than its delivery to the consumer. Given that up to 80% of our Black Friday purchases are simply thrown away after just one or even zero uses, a look at the bigger picture is warranted if we’re to help tackle the unsustainable practice that is Black Friday.’