Will Green Friday dethrone Black Friday?


By Jérémy Pennors

Published ,
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Since 2018, the 500 ociations and companies that make up the Green Friday collective have participated each year in a vast operation to boycott Black Friday. SARAH MEYSSONNIER / REUTERS

A harmful model for some, an anti-inflation tool for others: Black Friday, which takes place this Friday, is not immune to controversy. Several groups intend to take advantage of the event to raise awareness among the population about more responsible consumption.

I dream of a Green Friday where the story of sobriety, repair, reuse would be highlighted as a counter-model of society“. At the launch of the Ademe campaign against overconsumption last week, the Minister of Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu strongly encouraged consumers to turn to an economy “more circular“, thus pinning “the story of Black Friday» which according to him boasts “an unsustainable model of overconsumption“.

It didn’t take long for controversy to arise. The Ademe campaign, made up of four commissioned advertising spots, featuring in a humorous tone “dealers” who encourage customers to buy less, has indeed irritated traders. The latter subsequently received the support of the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire. A controversy which is a summary of the tensions that our society is going through in the face of consumption. Between distancing ourselves from commercial requests and the need to consume, it highlights a fundamental question: faced with overconsumption, should we risk blaming the consumer?


The French are perfectly aware of the toxic aspect linked to overconsumption. »

Franck Lehuédé, director of studies and research at Crédoc

Invented in the United States and imported to France in 2010 by American brands including Amazon, Black Friday is taking an increasingly important place in the commercial landscape. In 2022, consumers have been nearly 5.8 million to take advantage of Black Friday offers on fashion products in France, according to the Kantar Worldpanel firm. Considering Friday and the following weekend alone, nearly 15 million items were purchased, for a total turnover of 398 million euros.

However, the image of this promotional operation is not the most brilliant. Black Friday is in fact seen as an incentive to overconsume by more than eight out of ten French people (85%), according to a study by Crédoc (Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions). “The French are perfectly aware of the toxic aspect linked to overconsumption», observes Franck Lehuédé, director of studies and research at Crédoc. “Consumers are even showing themselves to be more and more sensitive to a form of material sobriety, at least in principle.», underlines the researcher. “This increased consumption at the end of November is particularly harmful for the planet», Estimates Thibaut Ringo, general director of Altermundi and co-founder of the Green Friday collective. “Buying more and more new products means exhausting the planet’s resources. And then these are mostly “favourite” purchases that people generally make without thinking.» he insists.

An idea that appeals to the French

To counter the considered harmful effects of Black Friday, several initiatives have been put in place to raise awareness about more responsible consumption. Green Friday is the most vivid incarnation of this. Since 2018, the 500 structures (ociations and companies) that make up the Green Friday collective have participated each year in a vast operation to boycott the promotional event by banning discounts from their stores and donating 10% of their turnover. from that day to ociations. This year, Green Friday has developed a new campaign axis to speak to as many people as possible, in the context of still high inflation: “The message we want to send is that the good deals presented are not always so good», Points out Thibaut Ringo, general manager of Altermundi and co-founder of Green Friday.

Denouncing the myth of “Black Friday, a good deal for consumers» thus remains the line of conduct of the collective which will continue, this year, to carry out actions in numerous places intended to raise consumer awareness of the meaning of the act of purchasing. “We are going to organize AGMs in front of certain stores, have the public test vegan shoes and recycled materials», indicates Thibaut Ringo. Our objective is to meet the consumer to reconnect them with the producer.»


When you have multinationals doing Black Friday, it is certain that they have capital to invest in communication that we do not have. »

Thibaut Ringo, general manager of Altermundi and co-founder of Green Friday

If four in ten French people are sensitive to the supposed consequences of Black Friday on their wallet, one in three already recognizes themselves more in Green Friday, according to an OpinionWay survey for the Envie network. It still remains to make it known. Thibaut Ringo is not discouraged: “When you have multinationals doing Black Friday, it is certain that they have capital to invest in communication that we do not have. Despite everything, there is hope, we have made good progress in seven years.” Ademe regularly highlights a “method» to encourage the general public to think about the scope of their purchases. This is the “KISSE” method:

  • Bneed: do I really need this item?
  • Immediate: do I need it now?
  • Ssimilar: don’t I already have something similar at home?
  • Origine: where does the product come from?
  • Utile: will it really be useful to me?

Thibaut Ringo judges that “Personal initiative alone will not be enough to change things. “The public authorities must act“, he urges. The standoff between ministers Christophe Béchu and Bruno Le Maire, however, shows that the subject divides right up to the highest summit of the State.



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