Data: Carbon footprint of Black Friday fashion is 70% higher than rest of year

The carbon footprint of fashion and clothing sales spikes by 70% on Black Friday, a new study from the accounting platform Greenly reveals.

Exploring data from a SaleCycle report which looked at Black Friday 2022, Greenly estimated that the carbon footprint of Black Friday clothing sales amounted to 33,012 tonnes of tCO2e, which is 72% higher than a normal day (19,325 tCO2e).

This amounts to the equivalent of 230,000 round Paris-London trips via plane, or the annual carbon footprint of 2,800 Brits.

The carbon footprint related to t-shirts jumped 24% (from 841 tCO2e to 1,430 tCO2e), whilst emissions from the sales of vests, hoodies and sweaters all jumped by almost 80% (79%, 78% and 76% respectively).

The report highlighted several key factors responsible for the increased emissions, including demand for speedy online deliveries – deliveries from a 100 tonne cargo freight plane account for 14 times more carbon emissions than deliveries from a 20 to 26 tonne diesel truck and 217 times more than a dry cargo container ship.

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In addition, impulsive Black Friday sales run the risk of leading to more waste than average – and the average environmental footprint for used textiles and household linens amounts to 500 tCO2e, with many  being thrown away rather than recycled.

The data comes as some retailers, including Currys, are announcing initiatives to make Black Friday less harmful, including by encouraging consumers to buy refurbished items and offering discounts on less harmful items.

“Reducing the impact of Black Friday primarily involves raising consumer awareness about the disastrous impact of the day. Retailers need to play their part by not engaging in excessive advertising of obviously unsustainable and environmentally damaging products,” said Greenly CEO and co-founder Alexis Normand.

She added: “And consumers can be more environmentally responsible this Black Friday by asking themselves: ‘Do I really need this item?’, ‘Can I find it second-hand?’ and ‘Do I already have a similar item?’

Climate crisisNature and the environmentNet zeroNews

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