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.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


KEY POINTS: Why is Sweden planning to cull half its wolf population?

Sweden's government has announced that it will allow a major wolf cull this year, with hunters licensed to kill as many as half of the estimated 400 animals in the country. What is going on?

KEY POINTS: Why is Sweden planning to cull half its wolf population?

How many wolves are there in Sweden? 

Wolves were extinct in Sweden by the mid-1880s, but a few wolves came over the Finnish border in the 1980s, reestablishing a population.  

There are currently 480 wolves living in an estimated 40 packs between Sweden and Norway, with the vast majority — about 400 — in central Sweden. 

How many wolves should there be? 

The Swedish parliament voted in 2013, however, for the population to be kept at between 170 to 270 individuals, with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency then reporting to the EU that Sweden would aim to keep the population at about 270 individuals to meet the EU’s Habitats Directive. 

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency was commissioned by the government to update the analysis,  and make a new assessment of the reference value for the wolf’s population size. It then ruled in a report the population should be maintained at about 300 individuals in order to ensure a “favourable conservation status and to be viable in the long term”. 

What’s changed now? 

Sweden’s right-wing opposition last week voted that the target number should be reduced to 170 individuals, right at the bottom of the range agreed under EU laws. With the Moderate, Christian Democrat, Centre, and Sweden Democrats all voting in favour, the statement won a majority of MPs.

“Based on the premise that the Scandinavian wolf population should not consist of more than 230 individuals, Sweden should take responsibility for its part and thus be in the lower range of the reference value,” the Environment and Agriculture Committee wrote in a statement.

Why is it a political issue? 

Wolf culling is an almost totemic issue for many people who live in the Swedish countryside, with farmers often complaining about wolves killing livestock, and hunters wanting higher numbers of licenses to be issued to kill wolves. 

Opponents of high wolf culls complain of an irrational varghat, or “wolf hate” among country people, and point to the fact that farmers in countries such as Spain manage to coexist with a much higher wolf population. 

So what has the government done? 

Even though the ruling Social Democrats voted against the opposition’s proposal, Rural Affairs Minister Anna-Caren Sätherberg agreed that the wolf population needed to be culled more heavily than in recent years. As a result, the government has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to once again reassess how many wolves there should be in the country. 

“We see that the wolf population is growing every year and with this cull, we want to ensure that we can get down to the goal set by parliament,” Sätherberg told the public broadcaster SVT.

Sweden would still meet its EU obligations on protecting endangered species, she added, although she said she understood country people “who live where wolves are, who feel social anxiety, and those who have livestock and have been affected”.