Do you really need 3500 bananas this Christmas?
1 December 2012 - Impact Hub
HUB members at Extra Ethical are launching an online advent calendar to encourage a sustainable Christmas.

In his book ‘How Bad Are Bananas?’ Mike Berners-Lee reports that the average adult spends a massive £440 on Christmas presents, of which 20 percent will be totally unwanted [1]. This average scenario creates the same carbon impact as consuming 3500 bananas! [2]

As atmospheric carbon emission continue to increase to record levels [3], are offering free prizes from brands including Solarcentury, Triodos Bank, WhipCar and Trillion Fund to remind consumers to shop responsibly this Christmas.

Andrew Simms, a fellow of the New Economics Foundation reports that “60 percent of annual turnover in UK retailing happens during the Christmas period”. [4]

“Christmas should be a celebration; of good things and doing good, which shouldn’t mean making creating carbon emissions and landfill” says Extra Ethical founder Oliver Sylvester-Bradley. “So, we’ve teamed up with some of the UK’s leading ethical brands to encourage a more sustainable festive season.”

Competitors can sign up now to win a huge selection of prizes. The competitions run from the 1st to the 24th of December 2012, with a different prize each day of advent. People that introduce their friends are listed on the Extra Ethical leader-board and only the top 100 will qualify to enter the final competition for the big prize on Christmas Eve.

Mike Berners-Lee says “Cutting your carbon emission is partly about tackling the low hanging fruit first and Christmas is an obvious place to start. We create so much waste at Christmas, and so many of the presents we give are unwanted, the Extra Ethical advent competition is a brilliant concept – I hope it reminds people we can still celebrate in style without creating ridiculous amounts of carbon emission and landfill.”

Andy Hobsbawm, Co-founder of

“Christmas is that time of the year when people seem to suddenly lose their sanity and spend ridiculous amounts on ridiculous things. Not new doesn’t mean not nice, and expensive doesn’t mean extraordinary. Remember, Santa Claus used to wear green. So Do the Green Thing this Christmas and make it Extra Ethical.”

Julia Groves, Managing Director, Trillion Fund

“Christmas can be a time of happiness, fun and generosity without the need for vast amounts of plastic product, imported from China and broken before we have even had our first mince pie! We are excited to join Extra Ethical Christmas in exploring low impact ways of giving something that can grow in value the longer you keep it.”

Justin Francis, Managing Director of Responsible Travel

“Christmas is often a time of excesses, when people think about the latest gadget or toy, but not how it is made or how others in the world might be celebrating Christmas.  For that reason we are really excited to be involved with the Extra Ethical Christmas competition. Giving back to local communities is at the heart of ethical business and is definitely something to be celebrated.”

“We can make a real difference by thinking about the things we buy; if we stop buying rubbish from unscrupulous companies they will not survive. Every penny you spend and every electronic pound you transfer is a vote for the companies that makes the things you buy.” says Oliver Sylvester-Bradley.

“Take time to think about the things you buy, who made them and where they came from. The more we support the brands that care about our planet, the more they will flourish and grow. As ethical brands grow other companies will be encouraged to develop their own ethicalpolicies and practices. You can make a difference, by voting with your money.”

The Extra Ethical competition, with top tips for a more sustainable Christmas is online now, at


[1] Haq, G., Owen. A., Dawkins, E. & Barret, J. (2007) The Carbon Cost of Vhristmas. Stockholm Environment Institute
[2] Mike Berners-Lee “How Bad Are Bananas” Profile Books, 2010: The average adult creates 280kg CO2e at Christmas. One banana produces 80g CO2e. So 280,000g = 3,500 bananas worth of CO2e