‘If we want local businesses to reopen in January, now is the time to stay loyal’ – shoppers urged to go green and Irish for Black Friday


Irish consumers have been warned that while the trappings of Black Friday appear beneficial, they can be harmful to domestic businesses in the long run.

ow in its third year, the Green Friday campaign is encouraging shoppers to spend their money locally and to invest in sustainable items where possible. 

The campaign’s organisers said supporting local SMEs is key to “living sustainably, protecting social resources locally, and regenerating the health and wealth of communities”.

Black Friday began in the US but it has morphed into an international sales event. It officially starts tomorrow morning, Friday November 25, however, many large retailers run Black Friday sales over course of November. While, its online iteration, Cyber Monday, starts on November 28.

New data from AIB has revealed that Irish consumers are expected to spend circa €26 million online during Black Friday, which is 33pc more than on Cyber Monday.

Green Friday campaigners said while every €1 spent in local retail can generate up to €2.50 in the economy, €1 spent online with an overseas retailer, “is largely lost to the local economy”.

Champion Green is a national movement to inspire people to do business locally, and to source local products and services, in-person and online.

Its founder Marian O’Gorman said: “If we want our local stores and businesses to reopen their doors in January, now is the time to stay loyal.”

Seán O’Sullivan is a children’s book author who turned his attentions to eco-friendly production after finding a gap in the market for sustainable and local printing

He founded Cork-based Badly Made Books has seen his notebooks, which are made from post-consumer waste, appear as far away as Australia, Peru, and most recently, COP27.

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Seán O’Sullivan from Badly Made Books

“We utilise secondary materials from a number of different sources in the food and textile industry to create our notebooks, with used coffee cups being the primary component at 80pc,” he said.

“We also practice printing with restraint, which means that every image we use is edited to utilise the least amount of ink possible while still creating a beautiful product.”

Mr O’Sullivan will be bringing his product to the contemporary craft and design fair, Gifted, which is being held at Dublin’s RDS on November 30. 

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Mizen by Badly Made Books

He said he has “some fun” with Black Friday and last year he disabled his business website for the day, and posted a link to “plant a tree instead” instead.

“The year before we had a bunch of seconds, books we salvaged and so forth, and we put them up online with a ‘buyer beware’ [sign],” he said. 

“In a way we have some fun with it [Black Friday], in a satirical way, because overall we would kind of disagree with the principle of it.”

Mr O’Sullivan said people are very supportive of local businesses and the market for sustainable products is growing. 

“There’s a lot of really good Irish independent businesses around the country who are making really great products and they are available around the country and online,” he added.

“I think it’s great to see. I think it’s something that really wouldn’t exist unless people really wanted it to happen and supported it as well.”

Green Friday campaigners are encouraging shoppers to follow their “conscious consumerism” advice and to ‘shop local, promote sustainable local communities and boost local favourites with social media reviews’.

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Amy Cahill, founder of Oxmantown Skincare

Amy Cahill founded Dublin company, Oxmantown Skincare with the ethos that “everything we put on our skin absorbs into our body”. The Oxmantown range of skincare products are handmade in small batches using ethically-sourced sustainable ingredients, and are packaged in recyclable containers.

She said consumers should “think green”, this black Friday and “think mindful shopping and consider the environment”.

“When you shop local you support local jobs and you get to meet people face to face, it’s a win win. Small businesses are the backbone of local communities, they add character and vibrancy to towns and villages, every time you buy local you ensure our communities remain vibrant for generations to come,” she said.

Meanwhile, Evelyn Moynihan from Irish retailer, Kilkenny Design said consumer consciousness is “real”, and there is more demand than ever for “locally-designed and made gifts that will last”.

“We may buy less in 2022, but the trend is towards responsible gifts and lasting quality. The value of sustainable community is all the more obvious in a world where climate crisis, conflict, and over-reliance on global business giants can drive both inflation and displacement,” she added.

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