Patagonia had expected to raise around $2m for organisations working to protect and enhance air, water and soil in local communities. However, the company revealed in a blog-post that last Friday’s (25 November) sales had surpassed that target five times over.

“The enormous love our customers showed to the planet on Black Friday enables us to give every penny to hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations working around the world,” the blogpost reads.

“Many of these environmental groups are underfunded and under the radar, and they are overwhelmed with your commitment. On behalf of these activists and every Patagonia employee, we extend a heartfelt thank you to our customers, friends and community worldwide who showed up to #loveourplanet.”

This isn’t the company’s first attempt to raise consumer awareness of the environment during one of the biggest spending periods of the year. In 2011, the company placed a full-page ad in The New York Times calling on people to buy less of everything – including its own products – in order to protect the environment.

The company is also a member of the 1% for Planet alliance, which pools together businesses that contribute 1% of total annual sales to grassroots environmental protection groups. Patagonia revealed that the Black Friday initiative “attracted thousands” who had never purchased from the firm before.

Frenzies and fundraising

Patagonia was one of numerous companies that took a different stance on the annual Black Friday frenzy. Outdoor equipment company REI and United by Blue – a sustainable outdoor apparel retailer – also held alternative events in the US. In the UK, both WRAP and charity Hubbub provided consumers with some zero-waste recommendations.

Dubbed the “fundraiser for the earth” by customers, Patagonia’s Black Friday event evidently resonated amongst consumers. The same can’t be said for the firm’s major non-partisan environmental campaign that aimed to place sustainability at the heart of the ballot in the run-up to the US election.

The Vote Our Planet campaign looked to put climate on the agenda by calling on Americans to view the environment as a key voting aspect. The fact that president-elect Donald Trump has previously claimed that climate change is a “hoax”, suggests this may have fallen on deaf ears.

Matt Mace

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