Buy Green on Black Friday

After enjoying your turkey and stuffing, do you read through the copious number of ads and sales flyers and plan your shopping route for Black Friday? Determine who’s open earliest and what deals run when? I know many people who go every year and wouldn’t miss it. The thrill of being among the first to get a great deal drives them out of bed and out into the cold. On one hand, the sales are good for our retail economy – the flip side is rampant, unnecessary spending during an economic time where a good portion of the population can’t afford to spend a lot. So, the fence-straddling message from groups ranging from the government to nonprofits to research organizations is to buy green on Black Friday.

While you are going through the ads, take note of the Energy Star-certified items. Many times appliances and electronics that are energy efficient cost more, so this would be an excellent opportunity to get a great deal and save energy at the same time. This buying guide outlines the benefits of buying energy-efficient gifts.

As you are checking items off your Christmas shopping list, be sure to not only choose green items, but patronize green companies. Let your purchases send a message by buying from companies ranked highly by Climate Counts is promoting the Striding Shopper Campaign to help shoppers be aware of which companies are working to reduce their climate impact. You should view the entire list, but, sadly, those shopping for toys don’t have much green to cheer about. The top three: Hasbro, Lego, and Mattel received only marginal ratings, and the rest of the list falls under the worst climate rating. If you’re shopping for electronics, you’re in luck. Many companies received top marks and are only differentiated by score. As a Michigan native, I am pleased to report that two Michigan furniture companies, Steelcase and Herman Miller, received the only two top ratings in that category.

So, all you early morning shoppers – arm yourselves not only with coupons, but information. Aim for smart deals with a good price and a small carbon footprint. Send a message to companies that you are watching their climate efforts by what brands you take home. Enjoy your coffee and your green “steals,” and bask in the knowledge that your purchases will not only put a smile on your loved ones faces, but save energy and, hopefully, encourage more companies to reduce their climate impact.

Andrea Newell has more than ten years of experience designing, developing and writing ERP e-learning materials for large corporations in several industries. She was a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a contract consultant for companies like IBM, BP, Marathon Oil, Pfizer, and Steelcase, among others. She is a writer and former editor at TriplePundit and a social media blog fellow at The Story of Stuff Project. She has contributed to In Good Company (Vault's CSR blog), Evolved Employer, The Glass Hammer, EcoLocalizer and CSRwire. She is a volunteer at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can reach her at and @anewell3p on Twitter.

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