‘An antidote to Black Friday’ – Ethical Festive Market

Ethical Market is a platform for charities and small businesses of Cardiff to generate income during the time when peoples’ attention is drawn to big brands and retailers.

Local Cardiff initiative offers sustainable shopping options amid the annual retail epidemic of Black Friday.

Shoppers in Cardiff can escape the chaos of Black Friday bargain hunting thanks to a new sustainable market in the city.  

The Ethical Market is taking place in a historical Temple of Peace and Health building in Cathays. It offers a range of Christmastime activities and it promises to turn shopping into a political act, according to its organiser Cath Moulogo.

“Consumerism can be an act of solidarity: I want to make a choice that the toys that I buy for my children are not made by other children,” says Cath, development support manager at Hub Cymru Africa and the person behind the idea of the Ethical Market.

The Ethical Market is held for the first time after the pandemic this year; it will allow people to enjoy Christmas.

Hub Cymru Africa is an association of charitable organisations in Wales, championing international solidarity and representing the African community in the UK.

“We work with a lot of people of colour and closely with the African diaspora communities and we don’t like the term Black Friday,” says Cath about the Ethical market being an alternative to the conventional bargain appeal in the last week of November.

Black Friday is an American retail tradition that is closely linked to the holiday of Thanksgiving. It is that time of the year that brands suddenly announce sales on some items , right before raising the prices back up. It is known to be environmentally damaging, but it’s still popular amongst brands and consumers.

In view of that, the Ethical Market will be hosting a discussion panel with fair trade activists, charity founders and sustainability experts on ethical consumption: what to buy, whom to support, what to boycott. Participation in the discussion will be open to the public at 1pm on Saturday, the 26th of November.

Campaigning groups protest Black Friday. The Extinction Rebellion’s stance on Black Friday is that it prioritises the profits of companies while destroying the planet and ignoring the cost of living crisis in the UK.

Jennifer Thomas, volunteer at the market says Black Friday is “one extra holiday of spending we don’t necessarily need”.

The market offers a wide choice of things to buy from craftsmanship tools, to artisan accessories, to hand-made chocolate, to coffee to go.  Shoppers are able to find goods that are plastic-free, the things that are sold in support of fair trade or things sold by black entrepreneurs.

The philosophy of the market, Cath Moulogo says: “Our view is that there are lots of different ways to consume ethically. We try to be judgement-free in the advice we give people. … There are lots of ways to consume ethically and not one way to do it right”.