Victoria-based Blue Friday initiative offers eco-friendly alternative to Black Friday

Environmental Local News

Six local businesses have pledged to donate 100 per cent of Black Friday sales to ocean conservation foundation Surfrider

Graphic by Darian Lee, Design Director

“Blue is the new black,” is the slogan of a new initiative, Blue Friday, that aims to encourage Victoria residents to shop both sustainably and locally this Black Friday. L/L Supply, Goldilocks Wraps, Ecologyst, SALT, Zero Waste Emporium, and West Coast Refill have joined together to participate in the initiative. On Nov. 29, each of these businesses will be offering sales between 15-40 per cent off both in-store and online, with all of their proceeds being donated to the Vancouver Island Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics campaign. 

Vancouver Island’s chapter of the Surfrider Foundation was formed in 2009. Since its inception, the group has organized monthly beach clean-ups in addition to programs, campaigns, and fundraisers to raise awareness for ocean conservation. On Oct. 13, they organized their first shoreline and underwater cleanup at Cadboro Bay, which the UVic SCUBA, Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP), and Kayak Clubs participated in. 

Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics Campaign will have a “bigger, longer-lasting kind of impact,” said Maya Bellay, the public relations coordinator for Victoria-based clothing store L/L Supply. She said L/L Supply is particularly excited to be supporting this campaign due to its mission to prompt change in legislation at a government level. 

All of the eco-friendly businesses involved in Blue Friday, Bellay says, are part of a like-minded community who are “really eager to help and do as much as they can.”

“Black Friday … is probably our biggest sales weekend of the year,” says Amy Hall, founder and CEO of Goldilocks, a local company that produces beeswax wraps as an alternative to saran wrap. 

Hall said when she was approached to participate in Blue Friday, she thought it was a great idea. 

“The whole concept of Black Friday is … everything that we don’t stand for in a lot of ways,” she said. “Cutting out single-use plastics is what we do so it was such a perfect fit to be able to donate the proceeds from the day to [the Rise Above Plastics] campaign specifically.”  

Black Friday has eclipsed Boxing Day as the most anticipated shopping event of the year in Canada, according to a 2019 Retail Council of Canada survey. The survey found that 43 per cent of shoppers planned to take advantage of Black Friday deals, compared to 34 per cent who said they planned to shop on Boxing Day. 

A Nov. 1 statement released to announce Blue Friday lists the plastic waste generated by packaging and shipping materials as one of the biggest environmental concerns caused by Black Friday. The United States Postal Service estimate they will process 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages this holiday season.

Several businesses in Canada and the U.S. opt to close on Black Friday to discourage consumer habits they believe to be unsustainable. Bellay says well-known retail stores, like Victoria’s Anian, make an effective statement when they close their doors on Black Friday, but she says the difficulty in being a smaller, lesser-known business is that, “if no one knows about you, you have no statement when you’re closing down.” 

Hall calls Blue Friday the perfect balance in allowing local businesses to generate awareness about their products, “while still making a statement … about what our beliefs are and what our values are as individuals.”