France proposes banning free delivery of online shopping due to environmental impact

A parliamentary report denouncing the environmental impact of online shopping has outlined a series of new measures to regulate deliveries.

France proposes banning free delivery of online shopping due to environmental impact
The report proposes measures including banning free deliveries, and requiring companies selling their products online to disclose the carbon footprint of the delivery options on offer. Photo: JOEL SAGET / AFP

The report published on Thursday, written by two senators from the Parti Socialiste and Les Républicains parties and seen by Le Figaro newspaper, aims to reduce the environmental impact caused by the transport of goods.

The measures suggested include banning free deliveries and requiring companies selling their products online to disclose the carbon footprint of the delivery options on offer. 

“In France, nearly 90 percent of the internal transport of goods is carried out by road (…), to the detriment of rail and river freight.

“Twenty-three percent of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions result from heavy goods vehicles and 19 percent from light commercial vehicles,” the report said.

In 2014 a law aimed at supporting small bookstores restricted free deliveries in the online sale of books. Amazon hit back by charging customers just one centime for books dispatched to their homes.

READ ALSO: The French town where local businesses are creating an alternative to Amazon

Accelerated by the pandemic, e-commerce has exploded last year – it represented €112 billion in turnover in France in 2020, according to Le Monde, and 92 percent of French people now shop online. One billion parcels were delivered in 2020, compared to 800 million in 2019.

According to the Agency for ecological transition (Ademe), every online purchase is the equivalent of 12 grams of CO2, the equivalent of driving a car for about 1km.

Member comments

  1. I love Amazon! Why? Few if any stores have the products I’m interested in. The only exception is le Briconautes. The CO2 dream indeed creates some really, really strange government actions. Free delivery or not someone will pay; for instance a lower price for product and a freight charge. In addition it has protected our family against Covid 19.

  2. Only in France. Why does France always have to bury it’s head in the sand regarding modern day commerce, doesn’t it realise that the world has moved on from the days of walking to a shop and then carrying the goods home. Sick of hearing about the environment and using it as an excuse to restrict what the population can or cannot do. It’s exactly the same with the language. When will they learn that language is a living entity that is always changing. When the under 30’s realise that their own Government is holding them back with communicating to the rest of the world, they are not going to be very happy and content.

    1. Very far from “only in France”: many other countries are seeing the extra pollution from exhaust emissions from so many deliveries, or the additional damage to roads & kerbstones where trucks/vans drive up onto pavements. “Modern day commerce” will have to pay for the damage it causes, one way or another, as with the disposal costs of their packaging. Sorry, but it’s the customers who may have their heads in the sand if they don’t see that nothing comes free, not even clean air. If the environment is ever used as an excuse by those who pretend to know, then you can guarantee their understanding is non-existen. That’s wrong, but I’ve not come across that. The environment is not an excuse, it’s a reason why yes, we do have to limit what we do, because it belongs to everyone present & future. If you’re sick of hearing about it I’m sorry, because it’s right around all of us, you, me & everyone else. However I’m more sorry, for just one example, for children suffering from asthma from traffic pollution.
      Home delivery has been great as a protection during the pandemic, but it’s not actually free.

      1. Bollocks. Go and save a few whales or try living in the real world where things are just not adding up to the perfection people like you require.

      2. Having goods delivered to my home must be more environmentally friendly than driving to the shops to buy those goods, especially since the items I buy on line are not often available locally or even nationally. No this is not an enviromentally friendly tax, it is just a tax by the powers that be to levy on the population from their foggy ivory towers in Paris. It is more to do with the narcistic self preening of politians, and another way to extract money from the population – not that it doesn’t need to be done. We will all have to pay for the costs of the pandemic (Be nice if the top exectutives paid their fair share). It’s just the sancitmonious lies that get up my nose … but that’s politians for you.
        It’s worse in the EU bureaucracy

        1. Hello. Yes, I did write that it’s been great during the pandemic & certainly it’s brilliant generally, like you, that I can get things that otherwise wouldn’t be available. I was saving space not going into all that. Nevertheless it depends on how many people are doing how much driving in what vehicles, & there are a lot of elements to weigh up to see which is worse. Depends who’s doing the driving too & how well routes are worked out. A lot of research has & is being done & reports in the UK too have pointed out the damage being done to roads. They seem to be much better quality roads in Frnce to start with! I started reading the article with the stats in Le Figaro & would be interested to see if they have an editorial, given that they’re right wing. Must look, & read the rest. No doubt there will be lots of info once the debates get going. Cheers.

          1. I appreciate you keeping it simple. I took as a basis of my comment the last line for the article which equated each on line purchase as equivalent to driving a car 1 kilometer. My nearest shop is 10km.

        2. Yes, 10 km is traditional isolation! A different story. Very different to the urban delivery vans crashing about dawn ’til night. My father was in a remote spot & survived after giving up driving thanks to home deliveries. Hope it’s kept you safe from the virus. All the best.

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Scorching summer was France’s second hottest on record

Three heatwaves since June produced France's second-hottest summer since records began in 1900, the Météo France weather service said on Tuesday, warning that scorching temperatures will be increasingly common as the climate crisis intensifies.

Scorching summer was France's second hottest on record

With 33 days of extreme heat overall, average temperatures for June, July and August were 2.3C above normal for the period of 1991-2020.

It was surpassed only by the 2003 heatwave that caught much of France unprepared for prolonged scorching conditions, leading to nearly 15,000 heat-related deaths, mainly among the elderly.

Data is not yet available for heat-related deaths this summer, but it is likely to be significantly lower than 15,000 thanks to preventative measures taken by local and national authorities. 

Most experts attribute the rising temperatures to the climate crisis, with Météo France noting that over the past eight summers in France, six have been among the 10-hottest ever.

By 2050, “we expect that around half of summer seasons will be at comparable temperatures, if not higher,” even if greenhouse gas emissions are contained, the agency’s research director Samuel Morin said at a press conference.

The heat helped drive a series of wildfires across France this summer, in particular a huge blaze in the southwest that burned for more than a month and blackened 20,000 hectares. 

Unusually, wildfires also broke out even in the normally cooler north of the country, and in total an area five times the size of Paris burned over the summer. 

Adding to the misery was a record drought that required widespread limits on water use, with July the driest month since 1961 – many areas still have water restrictions in place.

MAP: Where in France are there water restrictions and what do they mean?

Forecasters have also warned that autumn storms around the Mediterranean – a regular event as air temperatures cool – will be unusually intense this year because of the very high summer temperatures. A storm that hit the island of Corsica in mid August claimed six lives. 

“The summer we’ve just been through is a powerful call to order,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Monday, laying out her priorities for an “ecological planning” programme to guide France’s efforts against climate change.