Christmas shopping – French-speaking towns united against online commerce

The trustees and mayors of 30 French-speaking towns are calling for a boycott of online purchases. A petition is circulating to fight against the giants of the web.

Black Friday especially favors “the big players”, according to Grégoire Junod, syndic of Lausanne.

KEYSTONE

French-speaking towns are launching a campaign to support local commerce in the face of multinational online sales. Their petition, initiated by the City of Lausanne, has already been signed by around thirty trustees or mayors.

Entitled “Christmas in the city rather than online”, this approach was inspired by the operation in France “Christmas without Amazon”, explains Thursday Grégoire Junod, trustee of Lausanne, interviewed by Keystone-ATS.

The Socialist appears in a list which mainly includes Vaudois trustees, but also mayors or presidents of municipalities from other cantons such as Sami Kanaan for Geneva, Philippe Varone for Sion or Erich Fehr for Bienne.

“This call responds to major challenges: defending local commerce and its jobs as well as maintaining the vitality of town centers”, notes Mr. Junod. The petition comes in the wake of other operations aimed at the same goal, such as vouchers given to the population in certain cities to buy local, continues the trustee of Lausanne.

Written in the form of a letter to Santa Claus, the petition also mentions the ecological impact of purchases at Amazon and other Zalando. “The model of the giants of the web and e-commerce is social and ecological nonsense, destroying our jobs and our planet,” it is written.

“The big players”

Mr. Junod hopes that the petition launched Thursday will be signed by the greatest number of citizens and that it will allow “awareness” within the population. He recognizes that cities have no other means than raising awareness to fight against web giants.

“The fiscal measures against these actors or in terms of data protection go far beyond the powers of the municipalities”, he notes.

Asked about another practice that preterites small businesses, Black Friday, Mr. Junod admits that this operation mainly favors “big players.” However, he warns against a possible “stigmatization” of certain consumers who, thanks to the discounts offered during Black Friday, can afford products to which they do not normally have access.

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