In reaction to the worldwide “Black Friday” event, Envie, the French network of social enterprises working in re-use established the idea of a “Green Friday” in 2017. A green army of 400 organisations rejecting Black Friday practices now support the sustainable alternative to overconsumption and overproduction, Green Friday. Among these are the major networks of social enterprises such as Emmaüs France and RESSOURCES in Belgium. This third edition of the Green Friday campaign not only found its way into a major business magazine (Forbes) but also within the French government where officials voiced concerns about the Black Friday consumption feast. The French Parliament is now debating a ban on Black Friday and the Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, Brune Poirson, invited citizens to repair their goods rather than keep buying new items.
This green initiative seeks to raise awareness on the need for a more reasonable and ethical approach to consumption. Appealing to the idea of free will, Green Friday invites consumers to question and rethink their consumption habits, in the hopes of preventing waste and countering impulsive buying, incineration, resource depletion and many more factors driving environmental degradation. In addition to highlighting environmental benefits, it emphasises the importance of social inclusion. Numerous social and solidarity enterprises taking part in this initiative provide valuable training and job opportunities to people at risk of socio-economic exclusion.
In 2019, Green Friday events will take place in France and Belgium, and will hopefully take off in other countries around the world in the coming years.
- How does it work?
Participating organisations agree not to offer customers any Black Friday discounts and vow to donate 10% of their turnover to one of the four entities endorsed by the Green Friday Association (HOP, Friends of the Earth France, Zero Waste France and Ethique sur l’étiquette). In addition, the participating entities committed to organising awareness raising actions, repair workshops, site visits and other events.
- Who is participating?
The ENVIE network offers a wide range of activities across its 44 stores in France. For instance, ENVIE Dijon will hold presentations showing customers how to correctly use, maintain and handle certain products to ensure longer lifespans. ENVIE Languedoc will run workshops on dismantling household appliances and will welcome a class from a school in Nîmes to discuss the various challenges and opportunities of recycling.
The Emmaüs France network also set up a number of actions in different locations. The Colibrio bookshop will be organising a free market event involving swapping areas to exchange books and various collection points to donate unwanted goods such as games, furniture or textiles.
The RESSOURCES network will be coordinating actions and events across Belgium. Numerous organisations such as Les Petits Riens, Oxfam and La Poudrière are organising activities ranging from the distribution of reusable bags to re-use centres site visits and sewing workshops to repair your textiles.
For more information on other Green Friday events, please click here.
Kelly Piron, Communication and Advocacy Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org