The Ethical Conundrum of Black Friday

Etiko Ethical Shopping
There is always a rub with being a sustainable business and the pressure to discount products to participate in well known sales. The Black Friday sales are a prime example. Over the years, we have seen Black Friday grow from a predominantly US based idea, to what is now a global marketing strategy that consumers expect.

The reason why Etiko has chosen to participate in Black Friday sales over the last few years is, well, to state the obvious, we are a business (albeit one with an environmental and social conscience). In order for us to keep the lights on, and support causes we care about such as Sea Shepherd (, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ( and Plastics for Change (, we need to sell products.

We’re happy to give occasional discounts and throw in things like free shipping from time to time, because it sells products. And these things are twofold as we also know that there are customers out there who have been hanging for these sales, so they can do their yearly shoe shop or stock up on underwear.

We’ve had to move with the times and sometimes embrace shifting cultural norms half-heartedly. But rest assured, we are still committed to the values of fair pay, sustainable fashion and the environment. We still ensure our workers get paid a living wage, and that our farmers get paid a fair price for their produce.

To be frank we are reconsidering our involvement in Black Friday moving forward. We think our prices are fair, especially when compared to other brands who are selling genuinely ethically made/eco friendly fashion and footwear. We also don’t want to encourage over consumption. We would love to get your feedback on this.

At the end of the day, we’re a business, but we’re a business committed to change.

The Etiko Team


I think it’s good you’re reconsidering your involvement in Black Friday.
I think it just promotes over consumption. I know you’re a business, but you might actually find that not only do you not lose sales, you might gain them (I’m guessing you might have this hunch too, hence you’re asking for feedback) I can back this up by saying I bought a pair of boots because the company that made them didn’t participate in Black Friday, I respected the brand so much more for this.
You could always have a sale at another time of year so that your customers that you say do wait for this sale can purchase then. If they’re as loyal as they sound, I imagine they’ll stick with you.

You’ve received my thoughts on the title of this particular sale before, namely that in Australia, a Black Day reflects devastating bush fires.
I like your reasoning to not have a sale, that your prices are fair.

I boycott Black Friday. The fact that you are starting December with a free shipping offer is plenty. Thanks Etiko, love your work!

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