It’s that time again. Today is Black Friday, the biggest sales event of the year, as Britain’s retailers stack high and sell low before Christmas. Sustainable Development Goal 12 (sustainable consumption and production patterns) seems all but forgotten for the time being.
This must be a sustainability professional’s worst nightmare: watching a retail brand’s CSR and resource efficiency progress take a hit from sales and marketing teams that are ultimately encouraging consumers to buy goods beyond the point of necessity. Indeed, Brits are expected to collectively spend £10.4bn during the Black Friday sales, up 3.1% on 2017.
But for how much longer can this business model based on aggressive discounts be profitable and sustainable for high-street retailers in its current form? My answer – and hope – would be not for much longer at all.