It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. to go shopping that is! More than one in three American adults make it a priority to go shopping on Black Friday, with each shopper expecting to spend, on average, $1,007.24 total–with $637 of that going towards gifts alone. And this frenzy doesn’t just last one day–in fact, 30% of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas!
Cheap deals and fast shipping may sound ideal, but Black Friday and the festivities around it can create an extreme amount of packaging waste, shipping emissions, and other negative environmental impacts as mega-companies aim to get more customers to buy more products more quickly.
Dubbed “Black Friday” back in the 1960s, back when account books used pen and ink to record the day’s sales (red ink=losses and black ink=profits) this holiday once stood for the success of small businesses. Today, with new times and new shopping habits, Black Friday has become something distinctly different. The sad truth is that Black Friday has become less about the spirit of giving gifts, and more about “how much” for “how little” you can get. That’s why this year, we’re on a mission to do things differently–converting Black Friday from a day of excess, into a day of intention.
This “Give-Back Friday” at EarthHero, we’re offering a 20% off discount–but with a twist. We’re putting the power in your hands, letting you choose what % of that 20% discount you’d like to apply to your order of sustainable products, and what % you’d like for us to donate to environmental organizations. We’ve chosen 3 non-profits that go the extra mile to promote sustainability in three key categories–education, conservation, and policy. After you shop our green gift boxes, sustainable starter kits, and thousands of eco-friendly stocking stuffers, you’ll find a unique option on the checkout page. A slider will allow you to choose exactly how much you’d like to donate or discount, and you’ll get to choose the non-profit you’d like to give your donation to!
55% percent of Americans shopped in stores or online during Thanksgiving weekend (2015, National Retail Federation). Can you imagine if every one of those purchases gave back to our planet, instead of just taking from it? Read on to see what non-profits we’re giving back to this holiday season–and pick which one you want to share in your Black Friday savings!
Friends of the Earth – Policy
Friends of the Earth (FOE) gets directly involved in policies that truly affect our planet. By political action and grassroots movements, they expose those who are endangering our planet’s health for their own corporate profit or special interests. FOE pushes for reforms that are truly needed–not just easy. Over their 47 year history, three guiding principles have shaped Friends of the Earth; being a bold and fearless advocate for positive change, fighting for systemic transformation through strategic reforms, and organizing & building long-term political powers that will prioritize environmental reform in today’s world.
Their specific initiatives include….
- Defending the EPA and strengthening other regulatory agencies to protect public health from corporate pollution
- Protecting organic agriculture, with an emphasis on making sustainable and healthy food available to everyone
- Fighting against trade deals that undermine democratic processes
- Promoting community-controlled clean energy solutions that alleviate poverty
- Empowering people globally to hold financial institutions accountable for destroying tropical rainforests and other environmental sites
- Pushing public institutions to work to improve the lives, livelihoods, and habitats of people worldwide
- Supporting community efforts to protect our oceans from fossil fuel projects, including export terminals and coal plants
FOE is a bold voice for justice, and for the planet, using policy as a force for good. Through the power of their grassroots members and donations, they were able to encourage the world’s largest garden retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Costco, and 135 others, to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides, which are shown to correlate with declining bee populations. This is just one of many impactful steps in their effort to change policy. If you choose to donate to this forward-thinking non-profit, your money will go towards fueling the fight to protect people and the planet–not corporate profit. Learn more about FOE here!
Sustainable Packaging Coalition – Education
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) is the leading voice on sustainable packaging–developing tools, applications, and services to help communities and companies take meaningful action towards sustainability, specifically in packaging. This membership-based collaborative believes that today’s industry is capable of having more sustainable packaging, and uses education to bring tactical solutions to companies that need them. They believe in packaging that is non-toxic, effectively recovered, optimized for efficiency, sourced responsibly, and low-impact.
Their specific projects include…
- How2Recycle Label: the SPC aims to make recycling easier with their next-generation packaging-recycling label, which uses clear and concise language to show consumers how to properly dispose of and recycle their products. Because there is no current “standard” for recycling labels, and recycling information can be hard to understand, this labeling system plays a critical role in the recovery of recyclable materials.
- Online and in-person training courses which focus on the essentials of sustainable packaging and how companies can implement better packaging solutions
- How2Compost: this standardized on-package label helps consumers know if a package is BPI-certified compostable, taking the guesswork out. They hope that reducing confusion will improve soil health through increased availability and quality of compostable materials, and improve the reliability of compostability claims.
- ASTRX: ASTRX, or Applying Systems Thinking to Recycling, aims to build up the recycling industry through technological advances, hoping to deliver more high-quality recyclables to the supply chain
When you donate to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, you support the quest for increased use of sustainable packaging through research, education, and knowledge-sharing. Learn more about the Sustainable Packaging Coalition here!
Ocean Conservancy – Conservation
Ocean Conservancy works with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest environmental challenges–creating science-based solutions for a healthier ocean, and planet. By looking at long-term (and short-term) solutions, they hope to enact change at multiple levels, from coastal cities, to garbage patches, and much more.
Since they were founded back in 1972, the Ocean Conservancy has accomplished incredible feats for whales and wildlife, local communities, and of course, our ocean. One of their first initiatives was the Whale Protection Fund, protesting commercial whaling by countries like Russia and Japan. Through advocacy, volunteer support, and investments, they launched petitions and ran ads in newspapers to increase awareness about the whaling industry. In 1982, they succeeded, and the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling.
Since then, they have slowly shifted from protecting individual species like whales, seals, and sea turtles, to protecting entire habitats. They called this an “ecosystem based approach” with a focus on conservation. This led to the creation of the International Coastal Cleanup in 1986, which now works with millions of volunteers around the globe each year to tackle ocean and habitat pollution.
Their specific initiatives include…
- Protecting local communities and wildlife from ocean acidification
- Promoting funding for and attention towards the ocean in policy
- Employing their Ocean Future Initiative to further understand the interactive effects of climate change and acidification on our ocean
- Protecting the arctic ecosystem
- Restoring the Gulf of Mexico
- Planning strong, sustainable coastal communities that can live alongside healthy ocean habitats
- Reducing overfishing and rebuilding vulnerable fish populations
- Reducing the amount of trash and pollutions in our seas
If you choose to donate to the Ocean Conservancy, your donation will go towards the amazing initiatives above, working to save the ocean from ongoing threats that can impact us all. Learn more about the Ocean Conservancy here!
Now that you’ve heard a bit about the awesome non-profits joining us this “Give-Back Friday”, be sure to share with friends and family how you’re tackling the holidays in a more sustainable way. You can shop all your favorite sustainable goodies, from upcycled headphones to recycled plastic kids toys, and feel good knowing that your purchase was made in a way that gives back to the Earth. Plus, you get to choose just how much to donate–so the power is in your hands!
What non-profit will you be supporting when you shop with us this Black Friday?