Dozens of French activists from the Non-Violent Action COP21 and the climate group Amis de la terre (Friends of the Earth) blocked an Amazon distribution center outside of Paris, France, on Thursday to protest against the negative impact on the environment caused by the consumerism during Black Friday sales.
Between 50 and 100 activists used balls of hay and human chains to block the Amazon premises in Bretigny-sur-Orge, about 40 km south of the capital.
Most of them held banners reading “Amazon: for the climate, for employment, stop over-production.” Another group used old electrical appliances to block the path of trucks trying to access the Amazon depot.
The protest against Black Friday is not an isolated event in France. More demonstrations are expected as some French climate groups are planning “Block Friday” actions across the country on Friday.
Their ideas are gathering some support from the France’s National Assembly. Some of the local lawmakers are also investigating the options to ban Black Friday, which turned into a global phenomenon in the last decade.
A French legislative committee passed an amendment aiming to prohibit Black Friday as it causes ”resource waste” and ”over-consumption.”
Delphine Batho, the former French environment minister, put forward the bill. The national assembly will debate it next month.
French e-commerce union expressed its disappointment with the amendment and condemned it.
In an interview with Europe 1 radio Thursday, France’s ecological transition minister, Elisabeth Borne, has also criticized Black Friday. She went on blaming it for traffic jams, pollution, and gas emissions.
However, she emphasized she would change her opinion if Black Friday supports small French businesses and not large online retailers.
Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s deputy in charge of urbanism, Jean-Louis Missika, confirmed that it is also working on new regulations on e-commerce. The proposed changes include a tax on deliveries in an attempt to ease traffic jams and pollution caused by Amazon and others.
According to Missika, Amazon alone would deliver 2.5 million packages a day in Paris during the Black Friday shopping spree, ten times more than usual.
Sales in France are strictly regulated by law. There are legally allowed only two times a year – one in summer and one just after Christmas – when shops can offer discounts. The government sets specific sales periods every year. In January 2019, sales have been cut from six to four weeks.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement that Black Friday should be banned due to the environmental damages it causes?