The environmental impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Holiday shopping is on the horizon as Black Friday and Cyber Monday loom ever closer. Black Friday purchases hit a record high last year, with consumer spending reaching $9 billion. Cyber Monday was even more successful: U.S. consumers spent $10.8 billion. Oddly, data breaking down the environmental impact of both days is relatively scarce in the U.S. The U.K. instead offers some insights into just how much emissions spike during major shopping events like this. According to Money’s 2021 Dirty Delivery Report, Black Friday deliveries from online shopping alone in the U.K are estimated to produce 386,243 tonnes of carbon this year. Data pinpointing emissions from brick-and-mortar store sales is harder to find, though transportation accounts for the largest emitting sector in the U.K., according to government figures. It’s also the highest greenhouse gas emitter in the United States according to the Environmental Protection Agency, accounting for 29% of all emissions in 2019. Protests are starting to become the norm over Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, with climate strike demonstrators hitting the streets in 2019. Guides on shopping more ethically, either through thrifted purchases, supporting small businesses, or frequenting brands who skip Black Friday altogether, are becoming more and more popular. And many are calling for a switch to a “Green Friday” that prioritizes a more eco-conscious shopping experience. One of the best ways to not only have a more environmentally friendly Black Friday while also supporting labor rights is by showing solidarity with Amazon workers across the globe as they prepare for a strike. Organized by the grassroots Make Amazon Pay Coalition, actions extend to garment factories in Cambodia, warehouses in France, and in at least five cities in the U.S. The demonstrations explicitly acknowledge Amazon’s environmental misdeeds in addition to calling for workers’ rights and for Amazon to stop dodging taxes. This isn’t the first time Amazon workers have gone on strike for Black Friday. Last year, 15 countries held demonstrations. This year, demonstrations will take place in 20 countries. The movement is only growing and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Black Friday and Cyber Monday should soon become a thing of the past.

The environmental impact of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Holiday shopping is on the horizon as Black Friday and Cyber Monday loom ever closer. Black Friday purchases hit a record high last year, with consumer spending reaching $9 billion. Cyber Monday was even more successful: U.S. consumers spent $10.8 billion. Oddly, data breaking down the environmental impact of both days is relatively scarce in the U.S. The U.K. instead offers some insights into just how much emissions spike during major shopping events like this.

According to Money’s 2021 Dirty Delivery Report, Black Friday deliveries from online shopping alone in the U.K are estimated to produce 386,243 tonnes of carbon this year. Data pinpointing emissions from brick-and-mortar store sales is harder to find, though transportation accounts for the largest emitting sector in the U.K., according to government figures. It’s also the highest greenhouse gas emitter in the United States according to the Environmental Protection Agency, accounting for 29% of all emissions in 2019.

Protests are starting to become the norm over Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, with climate strike demonstrators hitting the streets in 2019. Guides on shopping more ethically, either through thrifted purchases, supporting small businesses, or frequenting brands who skip Black Friday altogether, are becoming more and more popular. And many are calling for a switch to a “Green Friday” that prioritizes a more eco-conscious shopping experience.

One of the best ways to not only have a more environmentally friendly Black Friday while also supporting labor rights is by showing solidarity with Amazon workers across the globe as they prepare for a strike. Organized by the grassroots Make Amazon Pay Coalition, actions extend to garment factories in Cambodia, warehouses in France, and in at least five cities in the U.S. The demonstrations explicitly acknowledge Amazon’s environmental misdeeds in addition to calling for workers’ rights and for Amazon to stop dodging taxes.

This isn’t the first time Amazon workers have gone on strike for Black Friday. Last year, 15 countries held demonstrations. This year, demonstrations will take place in 20 countries. The movement is only growing and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Black Friday and Cyber Monday should soon become a thing of the past.