Patagonia, Shopify, REI and EarthBreeze Did Black Friday Differently This Year. Here's How. From donating $10 million in sales and 250,000 loads of laundry, to offsetting all carbon emissions on merchant sales, to even closing their doors completely, these brands made the world better on Black Friday.

By Brian J. Roberts

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Suzi Pratt | Stringer | Getty Images

According to the latest numbers from Adobe, consumers spent a record-breaking $5.1 billion shopping online on Black Friday this year based on their sales data from the top 100 U.S. retailers. Meanwhile, Shopify reported merchant sales of $329,555 per minute when I checked at 6:15 a.m. Saturday (you can view real-time, up-to-the-minute sales through Cyber Monday global BFCM live map).

Top websites saw traffic spike 137 percent in 2019 on Black Friday, according to SimilarWeb, and 2020 Black Friday website traffic is sure to be higher. While most brands are focused on converting those millions of additional visitors to customers, several major brands–including Shopify, REI, EarthBreeze, and Patagonia–take a stand, lend a hand and make the world better for us all.

1. Shopify is offsetting carbon emissions on orders made from Black Friday through Cyber Monday

Transportation is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA, and with 2020 online sales continuing to reach historic levels, Shopify is offsetting its impact.

"For every package shipped, an average of one kilogram of carbon is emitted into the atmosphere. On a high-traffic shopping weekend like BFCM (Black Friday, Cyber Monday), shipping emissions balloon significantly," wrote Stacy Kauk, director of the sustainability fund at Shopify, in a November 13 blog post.

For BFCM, Shopify is purchasing offsets and investing in everything from forest restoration and regenerative agriculture to soil carbon storage and more. "Our goal is to help prove, scale, and commercialize climate technology for massive impact in the long-term," wrote Tobi Lütke, CEO and founder of Shopify, in a September 15 blog post. With over 1,000,000 merchants, that's a big impact.

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2. REI closed its doors because it wanted people to go outside instead

The global health crisis has led to "considerably elevated" mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and depression, according to a June 2020 report from the CDC. One way to help counteract this is by spending time in nature, in places such as parks, woodlands and beaches, which improves health and well-being.

"One of the gifts that time outside offers is perspective — on our own lives, on our work, and on the places where those intersect," wrote REI CEO Eric Artz in a October 1 blog post. "We are focusing on what matters most — on caring for one another, caring for our community, and sharing the connection brought by time outside."

On Black Friday, REI closes all 150 stores and doesn't process payments (while still paying its 13,000-strong workforce) to encourage employees and customers to get outside instead of shopping online.

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3. EarthBreeze donated 100 percent of its Black Friday marketing budget

This Black Friday, U.S. consumers spent $5.1 billion in 24 hours. It's one of the biggest shopping days of the year. And while virtually every other brand capitalized on the enthusiasm to maximize sales, EarthBreeze, a member of one percent for the planet, maximized its impact instead. Like REI, it closed doors, then dedicated its entire Black Friday marketing budget to help the world and those in need.

EarthBreeze donated 250,000 loads of laundry to help at-risk groups including, women, children and the homeless and planted 4,600 trees to help the planet. Think laundry is about just clean clothes? Think again. The CDC designated laundry as an essential service, and it's a part of its guidance to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

For the homeless, clean clothes are one of the first steps towards regaining everything from self-confidence to employment. As for children, thousands of kids miss school annually because they don't have access to clean clothes, and kids who miss school often are seven times more likely to drop out, according to the Department of Education.

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4. Patagonia donated $10 million in Black Friday sales to help the planet

Patagonia, also a member of one percent of the world, is in a class all its own. Since its founding in 1973, it's been a company for the people and the earth. Its activism could fill a book, let alone a section of an article. It's gone so far as to discourage people from buying its clothes, but nothing tops what it did on Black Friday in 2016: After a day of a record-breaking $10 million in sales, over five times its goal at the time, it committed 100 percent of it to grassroots organizations around the world.

What these four brands has done is inspiring, but imagine if every other entrepreneur committed one percent of their resources to make the world better too. We could turn the biggest shopping day of the year into the most impactful, and we all benefit from that.

Wavy Line
Brian J. Roberts

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Writer | Host of All Gosts

Brian J. Roberts is a writer and the host of All Goats. His writing has been featured in The Washington Post and he's written for Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Time, CNBC and more.

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