French lawmakers hope to ban Black Friday due to environmental impact

“Youth for climate” activists demonstrate against the Black Friday in the Quatre Temps mall at La Defense business district, West of Paris, on November 29, 2019.

PHILIPPE LOPEZ | AFP | Getty Images

Black Friday sales contribute to waste and overconsumption, a group of French lawmakers have said, arguing that the annual retail extravaganza should be banned.

The U.S. tradition of shopping the day after the Thanksgiving holiday has become one of the most important dates for retailers in countries all over the world. Brands try to attract customers with what’s described as more attractive pricing.

However, some French lawmakers have voiced their opposition against Black Friday due to the environmental impacts, as well as its focus on large online retailers at the expense of smaller businesses.

Elisabeth Borne, France’s minister for environmental transition, told a French radio station Thursday that she is conscious that it’s important for many French citizens take advantage of promotions and that she’s delighted if Black Friday helps small businesses. “But the truth is that it is first and foremost an enormous commercial operation by big online retailers,” she said according to CNBC translation.

Borne also criticized Black Friday for creating “traffic jams, pollution, and gas emissions,” according to news agency AFP.

A French legislative committee opened a wider debate on Monday over whether to ban Black Friday. The French Parliament is due to return to this issue next month.

“Stop overconsumption and communications that mislead consumers,” French lawmaker Matthieu Orphelin said on Twitter Monday.

Meanwhile, environmental activists have blocked an Amazon warehouse south of Paris to protest against Black Friday. There have also been other anti-Black Friday events in other parts of the country, including in the northern city of Lille and further south in Lyon.

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