Black Friday sales in storefronts

More businesses in Nottingham are prioritising sustainability over taking part in Black Friday sales.

This Black Friday will once again see big-name retailers offering massively discounted goods in store and online.

The annual sales event originates from America, marking the Friday following Thanksgiving. The sales continue over the weekend into the following Cyber Monday – another day dedicated to online promotions.

In the UK, Black Friday sales are mainly carried out online. This huge increase in online sales means more packaging gets produced and an increased transportation of goods. This then creates more plastic and air pollution.



UK shoppers are expected to spend £8.71 billion over this Black Friday weekend. (Source: Statista)

Dr Phillipa Martin is a Principal Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University’s Design school and has an extensive background in sustainable consumer research. She has criticised the day, saying “it exacerbates the over-consumerist culture and can lead to waste, either in packaging or in impulse buying.”

Last year, online shopping on Black Friday accounted for approximately 386,243 tonnes of carbon omissions being released into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the same amount as 215 flights between London and Sydney.
(Source: Dirty Delivery Report)

Dr Martin does however believe that the day can be used as an opportunity to shop ethically.

“It can offer a reduced price item and help people afford to buy into sustainable options which may have been a higher price. Once they’ve bought it, they may consider continuing with that mindset.” Dr Martin added.

Bird & Blend Tea Company are taking an unconventional approach to the holiday.

“We don’t do discounts; we don’t cut prices. It doesn’t really align with our ethics as a business.” Jasmine Knowles, Nottingham Store Manager.

Recently awarded B-Corp status, the company prides itself on having socially and environmentally responsible practices.

“We’re going to to talk about the charities that we’re supporting, and encourage our customers to donate.” Knowles said.

Happy Sunday Vintage is a vintage clothing business which is boycotting the sales.

“Sustainability is rooted in the heart of my business. The whole ethos is Stop Shopping Fast Fashion and use what’s already out there,” said Bryony Elizabeth, Creative Director of Happy Sunday Vintage.

Bryony has stated that the business cannot afford to offer further reductions.

Audio: Bryony Elizabeth speaks about Black Friday pressure

“We’re already operating on such small margins; I want to make my products as affordable as possible, especially because its second hand.

“I think the best way to spend Black Friday is to be mindful with your money. Instead of buying something because it’s cheap, buy something because you love it, it’s useful, and it supports the businesses you value,” she added.

Going forward, we could see more businesses boycotting Black Friday and finding alternative ways make spending more sustainable.