Black Friday is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but this year there seems to be some backlash.
REI made waves last month when it announced that it would be closing all of its 143 retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. All 12,000 full- and part-time employees will receive paid time off as the company encourages them to #OptOutside instead.
Your #BlackFriday options just got even better. @Mashable shows how states are making it easier to #OptOutside: https://t.co/MFaJbQtSxd— REI (@REI)1448326563.0
According to REI CEO Jerry Stritzke, the company made the decision to close on Black Friday because it wanted to be “authentic” to its brand. Many companies and organizations have publicly supported REI's anti-Black Friday movement:
I'd rather be outside than at the mall on #BlackFriday #OptOutside https://t.co/R6ahhjCohr— American Rivers (@American Rivers)1448383138.0
LOVE this: Several states are offering FREE admission to state parks on Black Friday: https://t.co/QqNTy6Z6NO #OptOutside— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club)1448383734.0
Nah. Get outside! #BlackFridayIn3Words https://t.co/HjRjEeNALM— Wilderness Society 🌳 (@Wilderness Society 🌳)1448316930.0
And now the states of California and Minnesota are making it even more affordable to do so. Save the Redwoods League was inspired by REI to sponsor free admission to 49 participating California redwood state parks on Black Friday, billing it as “the best bargain you’re going to find this Black Friday," according to NBC Bay Area.
“Visiting these parks is a great way to spend time with family and loved ones, relieve stress and enjoy exercise in the great outdoors,” Smith said.
But is this what the majority of Americans truly want?
Research says yes. According to a report published by WalletHub earlier this month, more than half of those surveyed believe that shops should not open at all Thanksgiving Day. Bankrate, a personal finance organization, determined that 62 percent of consumers are cutting back on their Black Friday spending, according to Albuquerque Business Journal.
Despite the growing distaste for Black Friday, nearly 100 million people still plan to shop on the holiday, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey. About 85 to 90 million people turn out every year. Though the number of shoppers has been on a slight decline, as has overall spending, it's not as if Black Friday will completely disappear any time soon. Americans are projected to drop some $50 million over the Black Friday weekend.
But the discontent for the shopping spree is hard to ignore.
"In recent years, both retailers and consumers have witnessed a backlash against encroaching Black Friday hours," said JP Griffin Group. "For one, retailers are forced to offer unprofitable deals and pay employees for all those extra hours in order to compete with the box store next door and profits on Black Friday have been disappointing in recent years even as the economy is recovering. Beyond that, it seems most shoppers besides the diehard deal hunters are simply tired of the crowds and frenzied consumerism associated with Black Friday, and are opting to shop online."
#BlackFridayIn3Words Good luck employees https://t.co/kxd1xZgeeT— Jay (@Jay)1448376415.0
#BlackFridayin3Words - Displaced American values https://t.co/QwBo9smhyX— Robin Hood Tax (@Robin Hood Tax)1448366826.0
#BlackFridayIn3Words-Mind Control Programming https://t.co/tX3PuxJPXN— Sista Dee Barnes✊🏾 (@Sista Dee Barnes✊🏾)1448318161.0
Though Patagonia doesn't close its stores on Black Friday, they suggest customers sit out "Cyber Monday" on their website. And in 2013, it launched its Responsible Economy campaign, declaring that "growth is dead." And for the past several years, the company has been focusing on its Worn Wear program, which evolved from the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad campaign.
As part of that effort, they run the largest garment repair factory in North America—with upwards of 30,000 repairs per year. They've also invested in Yerdle, a web startup that allows you to swap items via its app, and Beyond Surface Technologies, a Swiss start-up that’s developing high-quality, durable textiles based on natural raw materials.
These investments were both part of its $20 Million & Change venture fund that invests in companies making positive impacts on the environment. And they took their Worn Wear program on the road this past spring, driving a biodiesel-fueled, reclaimed wood camper around the country and teaching people how to repair their gear (Patagonia or other brands), so that they wouldn't have to buy more stuff.
So how has this anti-growth strategy worked for Patagonia's sales? Pretty darn well. Patagonia expects to gross about $600 million this year, according to the New Yorker. In fact, encouraging people to buy less has ironically spurred sales. Cynics will say Patagonia's "buy less" is just a very effective marketing campaign. But the company has the environmentally- and socially-conscious cred to back it up. In addition to the aforementioned campaigns, it also "donates one percent of its revenue to environmental causes" and "co-founded the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, in which such companies as Target and Walmart pledged to lighten their environmental footprints," according to Bloomberg.
Patagonia isn't alone in offering environmentally and socially responsible goods this Black Friday. Everlane, an online clothing company, will be giving all of the profits it makes from its Black Friday sales directly to the workers who make the T-shirts in the company's L.A. factory. The company used to boycott Black Friday entirely, shutting down the website for the day. But Everlane CEO Michael Preysman said, "people just go somewhere else." By staying open, but donating the profits, "it's a way for us to be open and available for our customers while I think reinforcing the values that we stand for," explained Preysman.
The company hopes to raise $100,000 through its Black Friday Fund to create a new wellness program for factory workers, offering on-site health care, free food and English classes. For food, instead of offering free lunches like you might find at Google and recognizing that workers tend to bring lunches from home, they'll offer free groceries instead.
In 2014, the first time they tested the Black Friday program, they raised money for the silk factory that they work with in Hangzhou, China, and bought solar panels for the workers' on-campus apartments. "Every year, we come up with a different initiative and see how we can push the boundaries," Preysman said.
Companies like REI, Patagonia and Everlane are at the forefront of this eco-conscious consumerism trend that is encouraging people to rethink their shopping habits on Black Friday and beyond.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
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By Maria Caffrey
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We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
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By Andrea Germanos
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<div id="da98c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="478a197b7c59c92787c92bec92f1ac39"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1331662923710693376" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Bristol Bay forever, Pebble mine never. #NoPebbleMine #SaveBristolBay https://t.co/CBQ9zuy8A5</div> — Save Bristol Bay (@Save Bristol Bay)<a href="https://twitter.com/SaveBristolBay/statuses/1331662923710693376">1606328156.0</a></blockquote></div>
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