Thank F**k It’s Green Friday: An Antidote To Overconsumption | #349

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Melissa swaps black for green to serve the eco-conscious shopper

Melissa is a retail industry expert with over 20 years of experience in buying and planning across the UK and Australia. She made a name for herself in companies like THE ICONIC and Catch. During her tenure at THE ICONIC, Melissa found her true passion for instigating change within the industry. Witnessing the environmental impact of consumption patterns, she became driven to build more sustainable options and promote a circular model of consumption. As an advocate for sustainable practices, Melissa is constantly seeking innovative and practical solutions to address the challenges the industry faces. Her visionary approach, combined with her deep understanding of retail and her unwavering dedication, makes her a driving force in shaping a more sustainable future.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Melissa Drennan, CEO at Green Friday

Green Friday is a business born from a desire to disrupt retail consumerism on behalf of the planet. Starting in 2021 with an inaugural event which ran at the same time as the Black Friday – Cyber Monday period featuring 23 partners, they’ve grown to now host 260 brands – people like Michael Hill, Salvos Stores and Frank Green.  They have an engaged customer base of 12,000 and, with this year’s event – which is on right now – they continue their mission to educate and inspire consumers to buy better.  Melissa shares how the Green Friday  platform works and how brands can be involved, wherever they are on their sustainability journey.  She gives her take on how retail can cater to the growing eco-conscious consumer and provides a valuable lesson in sustainability maths.

“If we could make little changes every Friday, that could hopefully start to move the masses towards a more sustainable way of living.”

Melissa Drennan

More than a marketplace

“So we have, obviously, the consumer-facing site. But then Green Friday has a back of house brand portal. And we really see that being a place that brands can start to learn and educate and connect with solution partners. 

So within the portal, we have solution partners that can help them on that sustainability journey themselves. So we’ve got clean sustainability there that they can connect with, Humii that can do some of their sustainability scoring. We’ve got MateShip that can help with some of their delivery aggregation mechanics and in that for example we have blogs and posts so we just converted some of the latest ACCC greenwashing guidelines into something quite simple and tangible for them to understand. 

So you know our role here very much is just providing transparency, making sure that consumers come on and know exactly what they’re getting.  And over the years, as we develop and grow bigger, I would like to enhance that even further.”

Sustainability maths

There’s businesses out there that have got fantastic concepts in regards to life of a product. So obviously if you want to rent your product out, or if you want to resell it afterwards, you need to have a product that’s been made well. So, people talk a lot about just buy the one thing that’s really good because it will last you two years versus buying the one thing that’s cheap, but it will only last you two months. So if you think of return on use and explain it that way.

I’ve been seeing some memes at the moment, which I find hilarious. And it’s like justifications for buying that $2,000 handbag. And it’s all about like, break it down, how many days you’re going to use it for, how much,  it turns out to be less than a coffee a day – the girl maths. So I think it’s almost like that, the sustainability maths.

Green Hushing

“I’ve noticed a bit of an increase now in, I don’t know if you’ve heard the term, green hushing as well. I came across that I think it was in the rag trader article, actually. And I love that comment. Because for me, it’s really true. There’s such negativity on brands on their sustainability journey and everyone is on a journey, everyone is at different stages of that and it varies massively depending on whether you’re a huge large corporation business or you’re a little small SME business. 

So I think there is definitely an unfortunate fear out there at the moment because of the greenwashing risk that we have, that people are actually not saying anything. They don’t want to call out the ABC that they’ve managed to do, and they should be super proud of because they’ve not yet hit D, E and F. And they feel that if go out and talk about ABC that they’ve done, the focus will only be on the D, E and F that they haven’t yet achieved. 

So I think all in all, there is work for us to do in the industry to really start to change the narrative around it. And I really feel Green Friday can take a huge role in that, in helping businesses showcase the journey that they’re on. And that’s my big focus.”

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