Here at Cycle of Good we’ve debated long and hard about the merits and flaws of Black Friday, which on the face of it, is not hard to do.
Merits – customers get some savings, the economy is stimulated at a crucial selling time…
um, that’s it!
Flaws – the wealthier nations of this world already consume far too much and our fragile planet cannot sustain current levels of growth, resource depletion and waste, so how can anyone in good conscious promote more mindless consumption? Black Friday deals are typically pushing consumers to buy items they may not need, pushing up family expenditure in a time of austerity when everyone needs to make every penny count. These are fairly weighty issues and that’s before you even begin to go deeper – if retailers can afford to take the hit of 75% discounts, then who pays the price? Does it mean that their profit margins are so high that they can afford it? In which case what price is being paid to the producers and makers, where is their share of the profits?
There is a huge and growing awareness that us human beings have a responsibility to consume less, reduce our carbon footprints and to be mindful of our role as stewards of this planet for future generations. So perhaps in order to support this message, we at Cycle of Good should be promoting “Buy Nothing Day” which sprang up in 1992 as an anti-consumerism kick-back against Black Friday, and this says everything that we as an organisation want to support!
But we’re a trading enterprise, raising much needed funds for our charity work in Malawi. We’re trying to sell stuff so that we can do good stuff with the money we make. So how in all good consciousness can we promote or ask you to support Buy Nothing Day?
As you can see, it’s been a few weeks of heated debate here at CoG HQ, and we probably haven’t been able to answer any of the big questions, but here’s our thoughts.
- We should be consuming wisely. The things we purchase should be needed and useful, serve a purpose and be designed to last so that we need less of it (whatever it is) in the future.
- We should be aware of who made it. There is no arguing with the fact that inequality does no one any good. We can help the world to be a more equal place by ensuring that as far as possible, we do not exploit people. There is no guarantee that by paying more we will be excluding exploitation from the supply chain, but we can apply some common sense to the decision making process! Cycle of Good have committed to the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code which is a good indicator that working conditions have been considered throughout all purchasing decisions.
- We can buy with the planet in mind. We can choose recycled, upcycled, plastic free, forestry commission or soil association approved. We know the resources we have are not enough to sustain the population so it makes sense to purchase something out of a material that has been used before.
- We can invest in organisations who choose to do good with the money they make. At Cycle of Good we’re lucky, we’re able to invest 100% of all trading surpluses into the community we’ve worked so passionately with over the past ten years.
So as we fast approach the season of giving, we will be encouraging everyone to purposefully purchase meaningful gifts. To consciously consider others and their right to equality. To be mindful of the planet and to buy recycled gifts wherever possible.
And where did we land on the whole decision about whether to promote Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day? Well, somewhere between the two! We do have a point to make, we do need to raise our profile, so to an extent we do need to shamelessly join in with the race towards Christmas.
For one day only, you can pay 50% more than you would normally do on all Cycle of Good products. You’ll be purchasing a recycled gift (that happens to be vegan too!) that will last and serve a useful purpose, for years to come. And our promise to you is that every single extra penny we raise will go directly to the community we support in Malawi. Whether you join our shameless publicity stunt and purchase on the 29th or whether you wait for 24 hours to buy at our normal (we hope, well considered) pricing, is completely up to you, we’ll be so grateful either way!
Throughout advent, we’ll be bringing you stories and news from Chilomoni Township in Malawi where we work, so you’ll be able to see the Cycle of Good for yourselves,