Are you contributing to the climate crisis?

How Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales affect the environment

There is no denying we all love a sale, but at what cost? With the ever-increasing popularity of convenience in today’s society it is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the everlasting impact on the environment. So why is this? Well according to data from ecommerce news online, it is said that 51% of UK shoppers prefer to shop online than instore.

However (ecommercenews.eu, 2018, n.pag), the rate of online shopping directly correlates with the amount of deliveries taken out day to day. As well as the travel incurred when making returns. Initially it was thought that online shopping would be a benefit to our environment by limiting the rate of cars driving to and from shops with the use of one van covering many houses but the reality is (according to the Financial Times online) that “Van traffic on Britain’s roads is growing faster than any other type of vehicle, and is expected to double by 2040”.

Black Friday however may not be our biggest issue, despite 56% of Black Friday shoppers saying they were going to shop online (Finder.com, 2019, n.pag), Cyber Monday will only increase online shopping further. As consumers we want convenience which is why “61% of online shoppers use same-day shipping” (ecommercenews.eu, 2018) particularly at this time of year – Christmas.

Whilst this seems like the key issue there is in fact a strong correlation with the amount of orders online and the amount of orders returned, “In online fashion retail 25% of goods are returned” (Financial Times, n.d, n.pag). If Van traffic has increased to get products to the consumer the heightened rate of return increases the Van traffic in returning products to the distributor, therefore increasing the emissions released by vans. This can contribute to environmental crises such as; “pollutants and air quality, photochemical smog, global warming, acid rain and reduced atmospheric visibility” (Majewski,W.A, Jääskeläinen, H, 2004, n.pag).

“Only 9% of consumers intend to purchase exclusively instore” (Finder.com, 2019, n.pag) but why is this, as a nation we are disregarding the high street for our own convenience, encouraging shops to drop like flies year upon year. Shopping can be a luxury so why don’t we take a day out, support these shops and with this contribute to helping the irreversible changes we have made to the environment. “ 17 percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed over the past 50 years, and losses recently have been on the rise” (National Geographic, 2019, n.pag). 

“Eleven percent of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and sea-level rise.” (Conservation.org, n.d, n.pag). These are just some of the frightening facts that we as individuals are all contributing to, and only for a little convenience. If we all reduced our online shopping or even just rate of returns, particularly on large scale sales promotion events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we would help create a better world for our magnificent animals and vibrant environment.

Katherine McInnes

References:

Ecommercenews.eu (2018) 51% UK consumers prefer to shop online than in-store. [Online] Available from: <https://ecommercenews.eu/51-uk-consumers-prefer-to-shop-online-than-in-store/> [Accessed 15 December 2019].

Thomas, L (2019) Shoppers might not be flocking to stores on Black Friday. But they’re still spending [Online] Available from:<https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/29/shoppers-might-not-be-flocking-to-stores-on-black-friday-but-theyre-still-spending.html> [Accessed 15 December 2019]

Financial Times (2019) UK retailers count the cost of returns. [Online] Available from: <https://www.ft.com/content/52d26de8-c0e6-11e5-846f-79b0e3d20eaf> [Accessed 15 December 2015].

Johnson, G.R (2019) Black Friday statistics. [Online] Available from: <https://www.finder.com/uk/black-friday-statistics> [Accessed 17 December 2019].

Majewski,W.A, Jääskeläinen, H (2004) Environmental Effects of Emissions. [Online] Available from: <https://www.dieselnet.com/tech/env_effect.php> [Accessed 26 December 2019].

Conservation.org (2019) Climate Change: 11 Facts Your Need To Know. [Online] Available from: <https://www.conservation.org/stories/11-climate-change-facts-you-need-to-know> [Accessed 26 December 2019].

Nunez, C (2019) Deforestation Explained, [Online] Available from: <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation/> [Accessed 26 December 2019].

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