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This Black Friday, Buy Better — Or Not at All

How are you choosing to spend your Black Friday? The choices are vast, and the choice is yours.

Imagine if your favorite brand in the world — say it was Nike — ran a different type of Black Friday campaign than usual. Instead of offering a 50% discount on a pair of shoes, they promoted a 25/25 sale in which you benefitted from a 25% discount, while an additional 25% of your purchase was donated to a charity that feeds the homeless, helps stray dogs, or donates to the protection of the Amazon rainforest.

Would you be inclined to support your favorite brand on Black Friday?

Of course you would.

Aside from getting a new pair of sneakers, you’d be voting with your dollar and participating in conscious consumerism. Nike’s sale is a success, you score a great deal, and your favorite social cause gets a much-needed boost — a win-win-win situation.

Now, imagine that every brand in the world participated in Black Friday sales exclusively with a world-bettering component. Imagine if on Black Friday…

  • Every pair of shoes sold donated a portion to veteran support groups.
  • Every bag of coffee sold safeguarded an acre of the Peruvian Amazon.
  • Every phone case sold donated a book to a child in the community.
  • Every electronic product sold benefitted waste education initiatives around the world.
  • Every wallet sold restored grassland habitat.

Just imagine. Pause, close your eyes, and consider what better world initiative you would add to this list. What social or environmental cause matters most to you?

Now, consider the global impact of all of these initiatives coming together.

With socially responsible purchasing on the rise among every demographic, companies around the globe are doing more and more to highlight their commitments to building a better world. This includes businesses like Cupanion (who donates a cup of clean water to a community in need every time a customer uses their water refill app), All Good (who makes reef-friendly sunscreens and advocates for toxic-free sunscreen policies), or 4Ocean (who creates jewelry from discarded ocean plastic).

The options to use your dollar for good are expanding by the day, with business networks such as B-Corp and 1% for the Planet creating global consortiums of purpose-driven companies committed to social and environmental wellbeing.

Although LOACOM advocates for a minimal consumption lifestyle in order to reduce humanity’s impact on the planet, we also understand the benefits that Black Friday sales can provide for those seeking good deals during the holiday season. With this in mind, if you choose to buy, we encourage you to buy better. The following companies prioritize a positive impact year-round and deserve your consideration if you’re using Black Friday as an opportunity to stretch your spending dollars.

1. EarthHero

EarthHero is an online marketplace for all sorts of eco-products made by cool brands that include everything from clothing to technology to pet products. Consider them an earth-friendly Amazon. Last year, EarthHero promoted Give-Back Friday by providing a 20% discount on its conscious-consumer products while allowing customers to donate to one of three environmental organizations of their choice! They’ll likely run a similar campaign this year, so be on the lookout.

2. GoLite

GoLite is a company that specializes in sustainable performance activewear for fitness and travel. Over 80% of the introductory GoLite Product line is developed from environmentally preferred, recycled, and low energy materials and processes. GoLite is constantly working to develop new practices to reduce waste and increase its sustainability footprint.

3. Acure

Acure, a responsible skincare company, has 100% vegan, paraben-free, sulfate-free, petrolatum-free, formaldehyde-free, and cruelty-free products. Aside from being affordable and using sustainable packaging and processing, Acure donates to Unite For Her, a breast cancer nonprofit committed to providing accessible resources, as well as Turning Green, an environmental education group led by students working to promote conscious-consumerism.

4. Ecoture

Ecoture provides ethical, sustainable, and cruelty-free fashion for the conscious consumer. From clothes to accessories, most of their products are ethically made, vegan, sustainable, and/or recycled.

5. Outerknown

Outerknown, who partners with World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater and fashion designer John Moore, creates sustainable swim trunks and clothing. The company strictly abides with the Fair Labor Association and uses recycled fishnets and nylon surplus to create their merchandise.

The above companies are just a small example of businesses leveraging their brand to create a positive social and environmental impact. Consider supporting them!

However, moving beyond consumption is a critical step in securing our planet’s sustainability. In fact, a number of product brands are urging their customers to not buy at all. Check out these unique campaigns encouraging consumers to avoid Black Friday altogether. It’s worth asking, Do you really need that new pair of jeans, trunks, shoes, or latest tech gadget?

Photo: Patagonia advertisement from the Friday, November, 25, 2011 edition of The New York Times.

1. Patagonia: Don’t Buy This Jacket

A few years back, Patagonia ran a considerably risky advertisement on Black Friday that explicitly told customers to avoid buying their products. Splashed across a page in the New York Times, the company stated, “DON’T BUY THIS JACKET.” The campaign stressed the importance of only buying what you really need, and choosing to Reduce, Repair, Reuse, and Recycle whenever possible.

Additionally, their #wornwear campaign highlights Patagonia products that survived the test of time and have been passed down for re-use to others. It also encourages the creation of new clothes from old clothing scraps.

2. REI: #OptOutside Campaign

For the past four years now, REI has closed its doors on Black Friday and provided tangible opportunities for its customers to get involved with a variety of community events.

This year, REI plans on hosting community clean-ups in Seattle, San Francisco, Jacksonville, New York and more, focused on cleaning up the outdoor and natural environment.

3. Jones Snowboards: #OptOutside

For the past two years, Jones Snowboards has followed in REI’s footsteps and shut down its North American web store for the day, emphasizing instead the importance of spending time outdoors and really enjoying one’s self away from materialistic temptations.

4. Hiut Denim: Buy Less, But Better Campaign

The small Welsh jean company Hiut closes on Black Friday to resist throwaway culture. As a smaller company, the high volume of orders on Black Friday does not allow them to make high-quality jeans with their usual care. So instead, this campaign forces the consumer to reflect on their own consumption habits and recognize the effects of hyperconsumerism on society as a whole.

As Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays close in on us, it is important to make thoughtful decisions on the types of businesses your dollars support. Does your spending perpetuate the exploitative practices of companies or industries that put little thought into sustainability? Or does it uplift and empower businesses that are making a genuine effort to design their products with long-term sustainability in mind?

As always, the choice is yours.

This Black Friday, we hope that you’ll consider the impact of your dollar and choose to shop wisely. Maybe you’ll also take part in a meaningful activity, outside of the storefront, that gives back to your community. Perhaps you participate in REI’s #OptOutside campaign, help with a local beach cleanup, create care packages for the homeless, or volunteer at your local food bank. Moving past Black Friday, you could participate in do-good spending days following, like Small Business Saturday, or Giving Tuesday.

In any case, let’s do our best to create positive social and environmental impacts this holiday season. If you choose to have a positive alternative Black Friday this year, shoot us a line — we’d love to know how you did it!



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