Shoppers urged to look beyond big box retailers this Black Friday as #ShopEthicalInstead returns

Sian Conway, Ethical Hour
Sian Conway, Ethical Hour

The UK’s small business community is urging shoppers to put ethics before excess this festive season by buying from small companies with an ethical and environmental focus, instead of the big retail giants.

The call, from ethical small business membership organisation Ethical Hour, is being supported by the return of the #ShopEthicalInstead campaign, which seeks to be seen as a positive alternative to Black Friday for shoppers who don’t want to boycott the annual event but are keen to avoid the “excessive mass consumerism at this time of year.”

Live now, the campaign will run across social media until Christmas Eve and includes an online marketplace, digital advent calendar which suggests ethical and sustainable gifts and a social media challenge to help small business owners tell their story and showcase their products.

Since 1 November 2020, the #ShopEthicalInstead hashtag has already been used over 541,000 times across social media by small businesses and their supporters showcasing their products, recommending businesses to support and sharing their purchases.

It comes at a critical time for the UK’s independent business community which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced many small businesses to close for a second lockdown while others remain open but with significantly reduced footfall and sales.

UK consumers appear well-inclined to lend their support to the cause, with a recent poll of Ethical Hour’s 20,000-strong Twitter audience suggesting that 74% of people were planning to support small businesses this holiday season and 25% saying they would shop from small businesses exclusively.

Ethical Hour founder Sian Conway, who started the #ShopEthicalInstead campaign in 2017, said:  “It’s incredibly empowering to bring small businesses together through a campaign that strives to shift attention away from the shopping frenzy of Black Friday, to independent businesses offering gorgeous ethical products.

“I urge shoppers to buy mindfully this year and support independent businesses that rely on the Christmas period to survive.”

Shoppers can discover an array of ethical Christmas gifts through #ShopEthicalInstead by:

  • visiting the virtual marketplace featuring 30 independent ethical & sustainable shops, launching on 26 November
  • visiting the virtual advent calendar every day from 1 December, where 24 ethical and sustainable products will be revealed day by day.
  • following the #ShopEthicalInstead hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, and @shopethicalinstead on Instagram.

Ethical businesses can also get involved by following @shopethicalinstead on Instagram and using #ShopEthicalInstead in their posts.

Last year’s #ShopEthicalInstead reached 495,000 people on social media.

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