Let’s reclaim our humanity with Green Friday and help create a Green Recovery this 2021. While more than 30% of consumers go over the top with binge shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we are here to promote sustainable and ethical shopping and to promote environmental conservation. In order to promote Green Friday and to encourage you to get involved we will be sharing a 5% discount code which ends on midnight 29th November.

A green landscape with the words, Green Friday Be the Change

We are all aware that the final weekend in November, retailers are promoting Black Friday – this year on 26th November and Cyber Monday on, 29th November. Millions of electrical goods, gadgets, items of clothing and homewares be purchased in a buying frenzy. Unfortunately many of the electronics bought at this time can not be repaired or reused and will end up in landfill or incineration sites in a matter of years. UK consumers generate 23.9kg of e-waste per person, second only to Norway. Some of our e-waste is illegally exported overseas. [1]

Image source: https://www.climateaction.org/news/uk-named-worst-in-europe-for-illegal-electronic-waste-exports

 Most clothing and shoes are environmentally costly to produce and rely heavily on plastic based textiles – nylon, elastane, polycotton, made by poorly paid staff in dubious conditions. Excessive consumption leads to unnecessary waste. What is the true cost of Black Friday to people, the animals and the planet?

Closing the Climate Gap Report from October 2021 shows that the manufacture of consumer goods needs to decrease
by 40% by 2030 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.


Do you really need a smart fridge or a gadget for entertainment with voice activated shopping?

How did Black Friday Begin?


Black Friday takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It originates in the 1950s in Philadelphia. Tourists flocked to see family over Thanksgiving, to see the annual army vs. navy football game and to shop. The streets filled up with crowds of shoppers The police began to dread the day which they labelled ‘Black Friday.’

Since then it has gravitated to a single day of extravagant sales, and now, more like two weeks. With online retailers bringing Black Friday online and adding Cyber Monday, consumers are encouraged to binge shop for Christmas both on the high street and online.

a photo of crowds pushing each other in a shop
photo from bbc news newsbeat (reuters original)

Black Friday got a foothold in the UK in 2010 due to the rise of Amazon and then in 2013 ASDA joined in. By 2014 everyone had heard of it.

Probably the greatest UK beneficiary of Black Friday is Amazon but can you shop ethically on Amazon? I expect there are some ethical sellers on Amazon, but still I don’t think you can shop ethically on Amazon…

Amazon has positioned itself so that it pays hardly any tax. Amazon paid just £492m in 2020 UK direct taxes, while estimates put the company’s tax-to-turnover ratio at just 0.37%. For context, other UK corporations pay corporation tax at 20%, VAT on turnover of 20% and national insurance tax at 13.8%.

All UK Amazon purchases go through a Luxembourg based company, Amazon EU Sarl, by-passing our own tax authorities. The UK tax authorities have done pretty well just getting the 0.37% because, with Amazon sales of 44 billion Euros in Europe in 2020, Amazon paid no EU corporation tax. Meanwhile Jeff Bezos, remains the richest man in the world with a personal fortune of over 200 billion[i].

Other huge corporations relying on Black Friday mania include Ebay, Apple, Sony, Facebook, Google, Netflix and Microsoft. These are the world largest companies and again they are great at tax avoidance.

What happens to the 30-40% of goods which get returned to Amazon? Do they get returned to the seller or given to charity? No. Amazon destroys or ‘liquidates’  millions of pounds of returned goods and they end up in landfill.

My main contention with Amazon is that approaching 50% of the sellers are Chinese companies selling Chinese manufactured products, produced in fossil fuel hungry factories. By bringing developing nations into debt, Chinas access to resources is vast and with their own cheap labour and subsidised postage, they can undercut EU manufacturers and sellers every time.

Hardly any of the products produced in China are environmentally friendly. If we carry on supporting Amazon, it is to the detriment of UK businesses. Day by day UK manufacturing businesses will close and consumers will become totally dependant on China. It also means that over time the Western economy will be eroded. If this continues we could face a western economic depression and the world would never reach the climate change reduction targets set out in COP26.

Amazon’s carbon footprint is huge too – last year it is estimated that they emitted 51 million metric tones of carbon dioxide. Small businesses on the other hand have tiny footprints. At Natural Spa Supplies with our emphasis on single ingredient multipurpose personal care and household cleaning products, our carbon footprint is just a smudge and all our energy use is non-nuclear renewable electric some from our own solar panels.

So should you just avoid Amazon and shop on Ebay then? Hmmm… Amazon and Ebay have joined up their order fulfilment. The chances are, the Ebay seller also has an Amazon account and their goods will be in an Amazon warehouse. Amazon will fulfil them for the Ebay seller.

So check how your Ebay purchases  are going to be sent to you and where they come from. I avoid buying items with long delivery dates, because this indicates they are coming from abroad. But really if you want to make a difference, find out about the Ebay seller. Do they have their own website? Are they registered as a business on Companies House? Where do their products come from? Are you clear about their packaging policy or do they pack everything in plastic postal bags which are free to them?

Sales are often a fallacy


Research from Which? suggests that the majority of deals on offer are not genuine. Having been an Amazon trader myself from 2006, when Amazon did seem to have high standards for sellers, pressure is put on the sellers by Amazon to give heavy discounts. But how sustainable is this as a business model? We finally closed our account. It took months!

For a sale to be genuine, you would expect the seller to market the product as a normal retail price capable of generating normal levels of sales for a meaningful period of time before the sales discount is applied. How easily can you check that on Amazon or Ebay?

Fake Reviews

 In May 13 million fake Amazon reviews were exposed and taken down, just as a result of one set of data. However many Amazon sellers still pay third parties to create fake reviews? Fake reviews plague other websites too such as Trust Pilate , Facebook and Ebay. Any large website with a large number of users is subject to fake reviews. To support these fake reviews, black hat service provides use automated buyer accounts (or “bots”) to upvote positive reviews for their seller clients, and downvote positive reviews for their competitors. It is my chance to point out that all the reviews on our website are genuine and each one is traceable through an email address to the actual customer who left the review.

Seller Sabotage

It is common for underhand sellers to hijack best selling products, alter the product details, reduce the price by 1p and then send a counterfeit item instead of the genuine product from the real seller. Or to list against the product with a hugely inflated price on say the US platform and using the genuine seller as a cheap unwitting drop shipper. It is difficult for an honest person to even understand how these scams work, but they are rife. It happens on Ebay too. If you have worked hard to build a brand, this type of behaviour is demoralising. The laws should be much more stringent to protect honest businesses.

Of late, Amazon would give refunds to customers but not require the customer to return the product at all. It undermines our UK distance selling regulations, were there is expected to be trust and cooperation between sellers and consumers. This type of practise is totally open to abuse.

How to Replace Black Friday with Green Friday

Green Friday began in 2015 as a counter movement to ‘shop ’till you drop.’ The idea is to encourage people to shop mindfully and ethically.

Yes, we are all trying to get what we need over the Christmas period and to start our Christmas shopping….Let’s just take our time and use this as an opportunity to make some great consumer and lifestyle choices. We should all take the climate change insights which came out of COPT26 onboard. If we make great choices this Green Friday, where can more quickly bring humanity back into harmony with the planet.

  • Lead the counter culture movement by making conscious choices which will have a positive impact on the planet. Avoid impulse buys.
  • Vivienne Westwood says, ‘Buy less, choose well and make it last.’
  • Turn away from wasteful consumerism for the sake of our planet. Choose eco-friendly, ethical products from British businesses that you can get to know instead.
  • Don’t buy fast fashion. Support sustainable fashion. Buy second-hand clothes or better still learn how to knit and sew and make your own garments!
  • Instead of spending hours shopping online or in town, take time to be outdoors in nature. So many nature organisation need helpers!
  • Buy products with stories behind them from people you like, not faceless corporations. Choose business that you can build long term relationships with. Not only will you get great products you will get great service.
  • Give experiences and time and swap skills. The more we can make, grow and invent ourselves the better.
  • Spend time with friends or family.
  • Give food or money to worthwhile causes such as your local foodbank, perhaps some of your 5% discount could go their way?
  • Sort through your unused electrical items and donate them to charity such as Freegle, Connect the Love or Reuse Network. Here is https://www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/about-material-focus/ which helps to set you off in the right direction.

Finally if you are keen to get your Christmas shopping all wrapped up, then do please feel free to visit our Eco Christmas Shop where we have put together a collection of kits containing our most popular products. Each kit is priced at the normal price and includes as very useful surprise gift. They are wrapped for free including a tag and charity card and we can even send them directly, all plastic free, if it helps you to avoid extra logistics. These kits are only available over Christmas and the stocks are limited. Once they have gone, they have gone.

We have done all the hard work for you, building great relationships with our suppliers over the last 15 years, choosing ethical products which are sustainably sourced and which offer really great value for money. We use all the products ourselves – in fact I can’t imagine how we would do without them and we are happy to answer questions, give tips and support and to help you get the very best out of them.

No need to queue for a car parking space, wait outside a shop to be let in, take large risks with covid, or order from giant corporations which don’t have your best interests or those of the planet at heart. This Green Friday we are here to serve you and the planet.

h Yes, the discount code! Use this code in the ‘Cart’ and get 5% off your eco goods for Green Friday! GF5 The code is live now and expires on Monday 29th 2021. Each person has the chance to use the code twice – just in case you forget something!

In return for using the discount code, could you let your friends know how they can help make Green Friday green and encourage them to use this code as well for their first purchase.

The first button takes you to our Eco Christmas shop:

Or shop in our regular shop for eco personal care and cleaning products as well as water purification amphoras. The code will work in both shops.

[i] https://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/amazon-pay-tax-uk-boris-21631536

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidrvetter/2021/01/21/uk-among-worst-offenders-for-e-waste-following-black-friday-binge/?sh=9776f282c76a

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