UNESCO promotes ‘Blue Friday’
Venice event seeks to push responsible consumption
Published: Nov 27, 2022 06:52 PM
The Rialto bridge in Venice on July 10 Photo: AFP

The Rialto bridge in Venice on July 10 Photo: AFP

Under the motto "Blue is the new Black," a two-day event of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) took place in the lagoon city of Venice in Italy on Friday and Saturday, aimed at promoting oceans protection and responsible shopping behaviors. 

The "Blue Friday" initiative was launched by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to raise awareness on the protection of seas and oceans precisely during the "Black Friday" weekend and to provide an alternative to it.

Held at Palazzo Zorzi in cooperation with Venice local authorities, the initiative comprised several events over the two days, including "a panel on blue finance and sustainable fashion, gatherings to promote a more sustainable consumption and production, and a theater show on the history of the seas."

Experts said that they are upbeat about the impact on audiences, considering the recent increasing public interest around events linked to environmental protection.

"This is definitely a trend we have been seeing toward all issues related to the climate crisis in recent years," Francesca Santoro, a senior program officer of the IOC-UNESCO, told the Xinhua News Agency.

Among the events held Saturday were round tables with representatives of global and local companies in design and fashion discussing the consumers and production behaviors' effects on the health of oceans and seas, and the possible concrete alternatives.

In the interview, Santoro noted that the role of private actors was another recent novelty, because firms were becoming more environmentally sensitive and wanted to meet an increasing consumers' demand for eco-friendly products.

These changes would allow scientists to be more effective, Santoro said. "While these issues were basically discussed within the international scientific community until a few years ago only, today we can easily work with a cross-multidisciplinary approach, involving journalists, communicators, artists, designers, and fashion experts, for example."

"This allows us to communicate more easily, and to convey a clearer and more targeted message," she specified in a statement.

According to estimates released by the IOC-UNESCO ahead of the initiative, some 80 percent of clothes and items purchased were thrown away after only one or even zero use.

But consumers were signaling they were ready for a change, with some 40 percent of those involved in the survey saying they were willing to pay higher prices for climate-conscious products, and 43 percent more likely to choose products from brands using sustainable practices, such as carbon-neutral shipping.

The so-called "Black Friday" falls on the last Friday of November every year, opening the Christmas shopping. Due to the strong discounts it entails, it marks one of the most intense periods of consumerism at global level.