Green is the new (Black) Friday
Surfdome, Europe’s largest action sports and outdoor retailer, is a long-term and founding supporter of #2MinuteBeachClean and Protect Our Winters UK (POW UK), and has opted to divert 1% of its sales on all Fridays in November leading up to Black Friday to the charities.
1% for the Planet brings dollars and doers together to accelerate smart environmental giving. Surfdome already provides 1% of proceeds from all Patagonia sales throughout the year but have decided that with the impending environmental crises it was time to push harder as they mirror the values of their customers.
Black Friday, the busiest day in the retail calendar, is fast approaching – preceded by weeks of preparation and hype, followed directly by Cyber Monday and Christmas shopping and January sales.
The goal of it all, not to put too fine a point on it, is to sell as much stuff as humanly possible, whatever the cost. So prices are cut in a race to the bottom, while the planet, as though left to make up the difference, pays an even higher price than usual.
Black Friday sounds somewhat apocalyptic for a day we are told to look forward to, but the doom-laden overtones are not inappropriate. Indeed, the phenomenon is a perfect example of the unchecked consumption that’s leading us to the brink of environmental disaster.
Surfdome isn’t exempt from responsibility in this, of course. We partake in the frenzy along with everyone else, and wouldn’t survive in today’s marketplace if we didn’t. Surely, though, there must be a better way of doing business – one that strives towards a brighter future.
Green Friday isn’t somehow going to “offset” the negative impact of Black Friday, nor is it the solution to the much wider problems we face as a sector and as a society. But it may point the way to one.
Throughout the year we donate 1% of all proceeds from Patagonia sales to our partner charities, Protect Our Winters UK and #2MinuteBeachClean – that’s on top of the 1% that Patagonia, whose founder Yvonne Chouinard helped kickstart the 1% for the Planet movement, already gives to environmental causes.
'How do we balance the values of our customers, the dire need to protect our environment and sustain a successful business? Well ‘Green Fridays’ are a good start...'
In the run-up to Black Friday we plan to redouble our efforts. We’ll be donating an additional 1% of gross sales from every Friday leading up to Black Friday, starting on Friday 1st November. It’s not much, but it’s a start – next year, we hope to be able to do more, and perhaps one day Green Friday will supplant Black Friday for good.
Surfdome has been and continues to be part of the problem, but we are also working hard to be part of the solution. Aside from teaming up with organisations like POW UK and #2MinuteBeachClean, we’ve been cleaning things up at our end, and tackling the plastic problem at its source. Last year our outbound packaging was 95% plastic-free, and that figure’s been improving year on year; our warehouse recycling rates have risen too, up to 91.4% so far for this year. Limiting our greenhouse gas emissions is likewise a major concern. At the start of 2019 we quadrupled our solar PV systems, and in the first three months of the year 89% of our electricity came from renewable sources.
This on its own will achieve little, but as an intermediary that works with over 800 brands, Surfdome is in a unique position, one we can leverage to influence the industry as a whole. Our aim is to get those brands on side, and not just dictate the terms but use our own experiences and expertise to help brands meet them. Currently, we’re working with POW to draw up a pledge for all our brands to sign.