You’re probably well-aware of the phenomenon referred to as Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving day that’s full of sales to get you in that Christmas spirit. I remember participating in Black Friday once when I was about 13 years old. At that time, it was exciting just to enter the mall at 7 am on that shopping-filled Friday. Today, Black Friday is quite a bit different. Stores started opening their doors earlier and earlier over the years and now are opening them as early as 6 pm on Thanksgiving. Yup, you heard me! Department stores are ready for shoppers before you’ve had time to give thanks and digest your turkey! Although this shopping tradition doesn’t seem to be dwindling down, we can at least take a moment to honor the companies that are doing good as soon as the doors open.
This year we learned that the outdoor sporting store REI is taking a stand and remaining closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Instead of selling outdoor clothing, the retailer is urging people to opt out of shopping and spend their time outside! All 143 stores will be closed on Black Friday, and online orders won’t be processed until the following day. Even their headquarters and distribution centers will close during this time of family and friendship.
REI’s #OptOutside movement inspired a variety of other stores such as Outdoor Research to shut down on Friday, too. Outdoor Research will be closing their offices, distribution center, Seattle factory, and retail store in order to give their loyal employees the day off. Also, the retail store will be donating $10 to Paradox Sports, an adaptive sports nonprofit, for every picture of your outdoor adventure that you post on Instagram with the hashtags #optoutside and #outdoorresearch.
Closing your store down isn’t the only way companies are giving back. While giving your employees the time to spend with their families and doing the things they love is fantastic, giving back monetarily never hurt anybody. Last year the radically transparent clothing and accessory company Everlane used profit from Black Friday to help improve the working conditions at one of their international factories. The first project they did with the money from their Black Friday Fund initiative was at their silk factory in Hangzhou, China.
Almost all of their employees live within walking distance from the factory in dormitory style housing. Originally, Everlane planned to build new recreation centers for everyone, but after talking to the employees they found out that consistent hot water was their biggest issue. With the funds from Black Friday they were able to build and install solar panels for the campus and now heat over 4,000 gallons of water every day. This project was the first of the initiative and cost $54,523. They are very excited to continue their outreach and completes more projects with the help of this coming Black Friday.
Other major companies, like Apple, gave back in a big way last year, too. While Apple wasn’t giving back to their employees, per se, they were giving back to a cause that everyone who works there deeply believes in. A portion of Apple’s holiday sales in 2014 were donated to the Global Fund as part of the (RED) campaign to creat an AIDS-free generation. During last year’s Black Friday, every customer received a gift card when purchasing an Apple product. For every gift card that was distributed, Apple donated a portion of it to the Global Fund. Then, on the following Monday, Apple donated a portion of every sale made in the retail stores and online.
Do you know of any companies that are doing good this Black Friday? Let us know in the comments so we can check them out!