On Blue Friday, IOC-UNESCO launches the sea-friendly alternative to Black Friday

On November 25th and 26th the sustainable alternative to the Friday of consumerism arrives in Venice, to promote initiatives and projects in defense of the ocean

Counteract the environmental impact of Black Friday, the Friday dedicated to shopping, promoting the protection and regeneration of the Mediterranean Sea and the entire Ocean: on November 25th and 26th, with the motto “Blue is the new Black”, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO launch the Blue Friday, the alternative to Black Friday, friend of the sea.

The initiative takes place in Venice in the prestigious setting of Palazzo Zorzi, headquarters of the UNESCO Regional Office for Science and Culture in Europe: an opportunity to present projects and promote cultural initiatives, with the aim of finding concrete solutions to the problems that threaten the health of the ocean and at the same time to raise awareness of a critical and conscious consumption.

Frances Santoro
Frances Santoro

“Blue Friday it is a real call to action aimed at citizens, institutions, companies and research centres to transform the blackest Friday of the year into a moment to safeguard and regenerate our Mediterranean Sea”, explains Francesca Santoro, Senior Program Officer for IOC-UNESCO And global lead of Ocean Literacy for the Decade of the Sea. “We want to demonstrate that it is possible to change course, putting the environment at the center and not consumption, by promoting increased awareness of the importance of the ocean and a more responsible lifestyle in line with the goals of theAgenda 2030. A goal that we are trying to achieve also thanks to ocean literacy programs for all generations and sectors of society, and promoting UNESCO’s call for 193 Member States to make ocean literacy part of the school curriculum by 2025. We are grateful to all the partners who have accepted the invitation to participate in Blue Friday by bringing green entrepreneurial initiatives to Venice, supporting activities open to the public or donating part of the proceeds from online sales of e-commerce platforms”.

Blue Friday theintends to reflect on the effect that each of our choices, as consumers, can have on the environment and in particular on the ocean. Suffice it to say that, according to estimates, 80% of the clothes and items purchased it is thrown away after only one use or even zero.

Yet, to signal the need for a change of course, are the consumers themselves, on a global level: ahead of Black Friday 2022, 76% want to buy superior quality products that last over time and 40% say they are willing to pay more for climate-conscious products. Even more (43%) say they are more likely to buy from brands with sustainability practices, such as carbon-neutral shipping.

The event is organized as part of the Decade of Marine Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Coordinated by the Unesco Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), is a major global initiative that aims to promote the role of marine sciences in promoting sustainable development and in implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Ten years dedicated to building the ocean we want, that is, an ocean that is clean, healthy and resilient, productive, predictable, safe and accessible, but also an ocean that inspires and engages to form an Ocean Generation and implement a joint program of research and technological innovation around which to mobilize the scientific community, governments, the private sector and civil society.

Blue Friday events

A rich program is planned for Blue Friday, with panels dedicated to blue entrepreneurship, fashion and finance and activities suitable for everyone.

It begins Friday 25 November (6pm) with the panel “Blue Friday VS Black Friday and Sustainable fashion” hosted at the Hotel Aquarius Venice, in the historic city center, and moderated by the journalist and writer Giacomo Talignani. After the institutional greetings of Massimiliano De Martin, Councilor for Town Planning, Private Construction and the Environment of the Municipality of Venice, the debate will open with speeches by Francesca Santoro (Senior Program Officer for IOC-UNESCO), Fabio Murzi (President Acqua dell’ Elba – Società Benefit), Raffaele Dessì (Architect, costume history expert), Eva Geraldine Fontanelli (CEO and Founder of gOOOders), Giusy Bettoni (CEO and Founder of CLASS), Matteo Ward (Wråd – tbc), Gioele Romanelli ( Owner of Casa Flora and Co-founder of Inside Venice), Chiara Pavan (Chef of Ristorante Venissa – Michelin Green Star 2022), Laura Scarpa and Lorenzo Cinotti (Co-Founder of Venezia da Vivere), Karin Friebel and Luciano Marson (Pieces of Venice), Ettore Pellegrini (Marketing & Sales Manager of Asahi Kasei Fibers Italia – Bemberg™ by Asahi Kasei).

A multi-voiced dialogue that will allow us to take stock of how to act, also at the corporate level, to enhance and disseminate the Ocean Literacy projects, and the restoration of marine ecosystems and habitats carried out by UNESCO in the context of the Decade of the Sea.

Among the main sponsors Mustela: B Corp certified brand that deals with skin care products for children and their families, adheres to the initiative by donating the entire proceeds of their “Future Black Friday” to “Save the Wave”, the IOC-UNESCO project that protects and restores Posidonia oceanica meadows in the Mediterranean and promotes public awareness of their importance in mitigating climate change.

“We have a great ambition at Mustela: to become a positive impact and regenerative company, ie we act to ensure that our activities and products conserve resources, leaving as few traces as possible on ecosystems. In ‘Blue Friday’ we recognized our own values ​​and the same desire to educate consumers about sustainability issues”, explains Roberta Bonacina, General Manager of Mustela Italia.

Acqua dell’Elba, an artisanal perfume manufacturer, also adheres to Blue Friday and chooses not to promote discounts for Black Friday, but to give its customers a “Green Box”: the net proceeds from the operation will go to support the activities of the Acqua dell’Elba Foundation, including awareness-raising projects in schools carried out together with Marta Musso, a young marine biologist and winner of the 2022 IOC-UNESCO Woman of the Sea Award, who with her itinerant workshop “Possea” will take Elba students to explore the world of plankton.

“The history of our company is deeply intertwined with the sea and so are our products and many of the projects that the Acqua dell’Elba Foundation carries out”, declares Fabio Murzi, president of Acqua dell’Elba. “The sea is a source of inspiration and life for us and we are convinced that everyone should work to protect it. Therefore, being in Venice for Blue Friday is a pleasure and an honor for us as we are aligned with the values ​​of the United Nations Decade of the Sea”.

Alongside Blue Friday also Bemberg™ by Asahi Kasei, the brand of Cupro regenerated cellulose fiber, produced exclusively by Asahi Kasei. Bemberg™ is a unique new generation material, made from the smart-tech transformation of cotton linters, a pre-consumer material converted through a closed-loop transparent and traceable process using renewable energy. Produced only in Japan, Bemberg™ also offers excellent biodegradability and compostability properties. It is a precious material historically used in premium linings and today it is also present in the most contemporary fashion, lingerie and athleisure collections.

“Bemberg™ by Asahi Kasei has been committed to responsible innovation since 1931 and strongly believes that fashion must be beautiful, innovative and at the same time aware of its impact and act to reduce it”, explains Ettore Pellegrini, Marketing & Sales Manager of Asahi Kasei Fibers Italy. “We decided to join the Blue Friday project as we believe it is the perfect context to support a valuable fashion in which we have always believed and invested, which certainly does not coincide with the excessive consumerism attitude exemplified by Black Friday. This event is also the perfect opportunity to share the achievement of another major milestone for Bemberg™ fiber; after having confirmed that it is 100% biodegradable in the soil without releasing any toxic residues, today Asahi Kasei is pleased to announce that it has obtained the ‘OK biodegradable MARINE’ certification which guarantees that Bemberg™ is also biodegradable in the marine environment, as certified by TÜV AUSTRIA. Bemberg™ will thus be able to offer a material that represents a real solution to the problem of microplastics present in water”.

Saturday 26 November Blue Friday continues at Palazzo Zorzi with a series of activities and initiatives open to the public to tell the authentic soul of Venice and bring people closer to environmental issues. During the day it will be possible to visit the Ocean & Climate Village, the interactive and educational exhibition dedicated to the ocean and climate, follow the tour of the Atelier Aperti together with Venezia da Vivere to enter shops and laboratories, admire creations of high craftsmanship and meet the Venetian talents, custodians of a 1600-year-old know-how. But also, discover the Lagoon by boat in the company of the Fie a Manetta, the “pilot” girls who teach women to navigate the canals, and take part in a multi-sensory visit to Venezia Stampa, a historic typographic laboratory: “local” experiences offered from Inside Venice, to experience the city in an authentic way.

at 12 o’clock, appointment at Palazzo Zorzi for the presentation of the book “Come whales in a bottle. Journey into the climate crisis among lost animals, trapped men and unheard messages” by Giacomo Talignani (Edizioni Radici Future). The author will dialogue with Francesca Santoro of IOC-UNESCO and the green journalist Diana de Marsanich to tell the climate crisis we are facing, between plastic pollution, loss of biodiversity, invasion of alien species and climate emergency.

The day will end (18-20) at Palazzo Zorzi, UNESCO headquarters, with the show by Alessandro Vanoli, historian and writer who will present a monologue taken from his latest book “History of the Sea” (Edizioni Laterza).

Furthermore, as part of Blue Friday, the second appointment of Young Blue Mindsthe traveling project created by Ioc-Unesco in collaboration with the marine biologist Marta Musso, Donna di Mare 2022.

To participate in the activities scheduled for Saturday 26 November and to consult the complete Blue Friday programme:


Blue Friday 2022 is realized thanks to the partners Acqua dell’Elba, Mustela and Bemberg™ by Asahi Kasei and thanks to the support of Inside Venice, Venezia da Vivere, Hotel Flora and Hotel Aquarius Venice.


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On Blue Friday, IOC-UNESCO launches the sea-friendly alternative to Black Friday


On November 25th and 26th the sustainable alternative to the Friday of consumerism arrives in Venice, to promote initiatives and projects in defense of the ocean


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The New Ecology

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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