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Minister urged boycott of Black Friday to save the planet

Emmanuel Macron’s government urged people to avoid spending money on Black Friday clothing discounts, warning that it harms the environment.

Clothing brands have reacted with outrage and accused the ministers of sabotaging their business after a video campaign was launched urging a boycott of deals.


It has become an annual tradition across the Western world that on the last Friday of November businesses offer discounts to customers in the run up to Christmas.

But Christophe Béchu, French minister for ecological transition with responsibilities for sustainability, ran an advertising campaign this year urging people not to participate in the trend.

France’s sustainability minister told people to boycott Black Friday

REUTERS

An advert put out by his department included a man asking for advice in a shop before an assistant suggests he not buy anything at all in order to help save the plant.

Béchu said that if France was to improve its record on the environment, “we have no choice except to move towards greater sobriety in our consumption habits and find a path towards a more circular economy”.

He added that Black Friday “vaunts a model of overconsumption unsustainable for the planet but also for our economic sovereignty”.

The Commerce Alliance, the Union of Textile Industries and the French Union of Fashion and Clothing Industries issued a joint statement attacking the campaign.

Christophe Bu00e9chu

Christophe Béchu has admitted the idea was ill-conceived

REUTERS

“We ask for its immediate withdrawal, failing which we will consider legal action for commercial denigration,” it said.

“We ask ADEME [the French Environment and Energy Management Agency] and the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territories to immediately remove this video and to work together to develop positive communication on the transformation of the fashion and commerce sector.”

Béchu has since admitted that his advert may have been ill-conceived, but has refused to pull it.
Other ministers in the French government have also spoken out publicly to criticise their colleague’s idea.

Finance minister Bruno Le Maire warned that the advert risked doing serious harm to “honest business”.

Unemployment in France currently stands at 7.4 per cent, with the government hoping pre-Christmas spedning will help boost the economy.

In total 3.4 million people are employed in the retail sector in France.

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